9 Things I wish I knew before I got to know

9 Things I wish I knew before I got to know

           Grief is something most of us are going to experience at some point in our lives, but it's still such an uncommon topic of discussion and that's what makes people who are grieving feel very alone. 

           And that's why I want to talk about it today. 

           So in today's blog, I'm going to share 10 things that I wish I knew about grief beforehand. 

           Things that would have helped me and I hope that these things can help people who are grieving or if you have a friend who's grieving and you want to provide a little bit of support, I hope that these things are useful. 

           This is going to be a longer blog and it's going to be a more serious blog, so if that's not for you, you don't need to watch this. 

           But if you're curious, please keep reading. 

           Hello hello! Welcome back to The healthy Lifestyle.

           It wasn't something that I expected to happen so soon...he was only six and a half.

           He got really sick and within two hours he had to be euthanized. And this was my first experience with this whole process.

           And I was very attached to Pryda so his loss affected me a lot more than I thought it would. I started to feel better in a couple months and I was ready to come back to blog in March. 

           He got really sick..he'd been sick for a while but he got really sick quickly and he was gone within a couple days. 

           And because of the world situation, we're in right now, I couldn't go back to see him because of travel restrictions. 

           So it was difficult not to be able to say goodbye. 

           So it's been a really tough year for me. 

           I just wanted to take time off. I was not really keen on being in front of the camera, so I decided to take a break and I think that break was really necessary, but now I'm back. 

           In today's blog, I wanted to share some of the things that I learned from this year... from losing my cat..from losing my dad, and also some of the things I learned from losing my mom in 2012. 

           I feel that the more we talk about grief, the fewer people are going to feel alone when they're going through the process themselves. 

           So that's kind of my intent in making this blog.. just to talk about what I've been through...what I've learned and I really hope that these things can help some people. 

           Let's begin.

1: really important to process emotions properly 

           because if you don't, they can end up becoming a problem down the line. So let me explain this.


           When my mother passed away it was my first experience with grief on a large scale. 

           I had lost grandparents before that but it didn't really impact me that much because I wasn't that close to them. 

           I grew up in a way where I only saw them once a year. 

           It didn't really affect me all that much, but when my mother died, that was the first time I saw grief in a totally different way and it impacted me a lot. 

           And because it was my first experience, I didn't know what to do.


           So what I ended up doing was I just kind of distracted myself and tried not to think about the grief. I did not process the emotions. 

           I was fine the first couple of months and then four months later, all the emotions came out and I didn't know what to do. 

           And I struggled with them for a whole year.

           It was a whole year before I felt better. 

           Before I felt like myself again. Grief changes you a lot.. you'll never feel completely like yourself but I started feeling normal a year later. 

           But if I had processed the emotions earlier, I probably would have felt better a lot sooner. 

           It's a very difficult process but I think it's a really important process. My suggestion is journaling. 

           That's something that I found really, really helpful when my mother passed away. I did not get to say goodbye to her. 

           She was on the operating table when she passed and because I couldn't say goodbye there were all these things that I weren't able to tell her and it really bothered me that I wasn't able to properly say those things. So what I ended up doing was I wrote down a letter on a piece of paper. 

           Obviously, I couldn't send it to her but just pouring those emotions down on paper really, really helped. So something like that can be helpful. Journaling in general.. just writing down your emotions can be helpful.

           Another thing that I found very helpful was talking to a therapist. It's nice to talk to friends and family but sometimes there are things that you may not want to discuss with them. 

           Discussing them with a therapist can feel a little bit easier and I found it very useful. I went to a therapist for maybe a couple of months. 

           Maybe two or three months - it's probably five sessions and it made a world of a difference. If I hadn't done that, I don't think I would have properly processed all those emotions. 

           Sometimes you need a little bit of help.

2: there is no timeline for grieving

           As a society, we tell people that they need to move through grief quickly, that they need to move on... they're being sad for too long...that it's not healthy.. that it's not normal. 

           Here's the thing with grief, every single experience of grief is different and everybody responds differently. 

           Some people take days, some people take months, some people just take a couple weeks. 

           Everyone is different and every single experience is different. 

           When my mom passed away, it took me a year to start to feel somewhat normal... somewhat back to myself, and with my cat, it took me a couple months with my dad...I don't know. 

           I feel that I've sort of been able to move forward, but sometimes I do think about it and it makes me sad. So I don't know when I'm going to feel 100 percent back to normal again. 

           I may never feel that way, but the thing with grief is you have to understand that it will take time and you can't rush it. 

           There's really no timeline, so give yourself that allowance.. to take your time.

           Don't do things quickly, don't rush through the process just because society tells you to. 

3: grief can be a strange mix of conflicting emotions.


           it can feel confusing not only for the person who's going through the grieving process but also for other people. I'm going to explain this with an example.

           So when my mother passed away in 2012, I remember the next day at the funeral, someone said something that I found funny and I smiled and for a split moment, I was actually happy, even though in my mind I felt that I should be sad. It was confusing. 

           I was like "how can I be happy and sad at the same time?".And I remember someone commenting.. oh how can you be happy? How can you smile? You should be sad, your mother passed away. 

           I started to feel a bit guilty about having that moment of happiness, but what I've realized is grief is not just a singular emotion.


           It's not just sadness - there are going to be moments when you'll feel happy. There are going to be moments when you'll feel anger. 

           There'll be moments when you feel guilt. All sorts of different feelings and emotions pop up. It's not just sadness.

           So if you were to paint it, it's not just a big black circle of sadness. It's all these different emotions and that's okay.

           So don't feel guilty if you have a moment of happiness and you feel like you should be sad and don't assume that because someone who you think should be grieving is not displaying sadness, that they're not sad. 

           You can be happy and sad at the same time when you're grieving. 

           It's sort of like when you have a day when it's sunny and it's rainy at the same time. 

           It's a bit weird - doesn't happen that often but that's kind of what grief can feel like so that's okay. 

4:grief can feel isolating at times and it's okay to seek support from unexpected sources.


            So one of the most difficult things about grief is the lack of support. 


           I know some people get a lot of support - they have great friends and family but that's not the case for everybody and I certainly felt it this year. I have a few friends who are very supportive - very very grateful for them. 

           My husband's extremely supportive but there were people who I expected a little bit more from. And they kind of just disappeared. 

           And then I started to think that it was just me, but the more I talked to other people who've been through the grieving process, it seems that it's kind of the situation. It's kind of what happens. 

           There's actually an article on the HuffingtonPost about how grief changes your address book - how it changes your friendships and your relationships and that article really resonated with me. 

           I feel that a lot of people find it very uncomfortable to talk about grief - they don't know what to say to someone who's grieving and because as a society we just don't talk about this topic, people just kind of stay away from it. 

           It makes them feel like they don't know what to do. 

           So I understand why people kind of just disappeared. 

           Some people didn't even text me when they found out that my dad passed away and it was a bit disappointing to me so here's the thing.


           If you're not getting the support that you need from friends and family, there are other sources out there. Talking to therapists is obviously one avenue but other sources don't cost money. 

           Things like Reddit groups and Facebook groups as well. There are quite a few Facebook groups that deal with loss and just talking to someone who's going through the same process can feel comforting. 

           So when Pryda passed away, I definitely had a few very supportive friends but because they had never lost pets, I didn't quite feel like they understood what I was going through and I just wanted to talk to someone who was going through the same process.

           So I joined a Facebook group on pet loss and I found it really, really helpful. I met this woman who had lost her cat ina very similar way.. the way Pryda passed and she lost her two weeks before mine and we became Facebook friends. 

           Now we send pictures of our cats to each other and it's just nice to talk to someone who's gone through the same process.

           So even if you are getting support from friends and family, if you need some additional support from someone who can truly understand what you're going through, I think it's a great idea to seek that kind of support. It's very helpful.


5: pet loss is way harder than I thought it would be. 

           Now I've lost pets in the past. Pryda was not my first experience with pet loss but the other pets that I lost I wasn't really that attached to. 

           I was much younger.. it'll sin a different phase of life and it didn't really affect me that much. But when Pryda passed away it affected me a lot.


           A lot more than I thought it would. Partly because I was so attached to Pryda. I got Pryda when my mother passed away... a year after that and he kind of helped me through the process of grieving and he was a very special cat.


           Sometimes you have this special bond with a pet.


           I think the people who have gone through this know what it feels like. Not every single pet feels that way but some pets just feel really special. 

           Pryda was my special cat and he was partly the reason I started this channel. He was part of my day-to-day routine. 

           I would wake up in the morning and cuddle with him. I would cuddle with him at night. He would sit in the office when I was writing blogs. It was a very different experience to lose him. 

           It was very emotionally taxing for me. I couldn't sleep. 

           I didn't sleep properly for four weeks and when my mother passed my sleep was not impacted, so for me, this was a completely new experience.

           So now that I've gone through pet loss, I have a deeper understanding of what it feels like for some people to lose their pets. 

           People who are really attached to their pets. I think a lot of people look at pet grief and think well it's just a pet.. what's the big deal.. you can get another one. 

           I actually got a few comments on my blogging blogs.. my tribute blogs for Pryda ..that you could just get another one.. what's the big deal? I don't think people like that really understand what it feels like. Just because they're a pet does not mean that the grief is any less than losing a family member. To me, my pets are my family members. 

           I treat them very, very well and they're very important to me. I think if you have anybody in your life who is going through pet loss, be a little bit more supportive of them. 

           They will really appreciate it. I don't think they receive enough support and they fear judgment and that's why people don't open up, but pet loss can be very hard.

           Now dealing with pet loss. I found there were a few very helpful things.

           As I said, talking to therapists was helpful and also just talking to people who have gone through the same process.

           I think the comments that I got on my community post when I lost Pryda were really really really helpful because they were from people who had lost their pets. 

           And I think they understood me and I felt understood in a way that I didn't feel understood by other people. 

           So that was nice. So definitely..you know. seek out support from people who have been through the process. It can be very helpful.


6: making a memory box or folder is a really simple thing that can be very helpful because it gives you a place to access the memories of your loved one. 

           Now obviously you can access the memories of your loved one in your head, you have your memories in your brain, but it's nice to have them in one place when you can access them at any time...photos, videos, any small mementos... that kind of things.

           I did not do this when my mother passed away and looking back I think I should have. It would have been a very helpful process.

           When Pryda passed away, I did this. 

           I have a memory box for him. I have a photo book for him. 

           I have his urn. I have a little pendant urn in there too and I also made a tribute video for him. It was a very difficult process to make that blog but it helped me process my emotions which I thought was very helpful and now whenever I miss him, I can go back and look at that blog. 

           I can go back and go to that memory box and look at his photos. 

           So it's just nice to do something like that. So when my dad passed away, I did it. 

           I have a little folder on my phone.. whenever I think of him, I can look at his photos and it gives me a sense of peace and comfort and if you're grieving and you haven't done this I highly suggest that. 

           I found it very very useful..it is a difficult process. 

           When I made the tribute blog for Pryda...going through all of his blogs and photos was extremely difficult. 

           By the end of the day, my cheeks were completely torn stained. 

           I cried for six hours straight but I felt better afterward. 

           So I definitely recommend this if you haven't done this already.


7: maintaining a routine that includes self-care is so, so important. 

           There is one strategy that is recommended on a lot of blogs that talk about grief and that is to maintain a routine. 

           I did not do this when my mother passed away. 

           I did not do this when Pryda passed away and I did this when my dad passed away and I found it very helpful.

           By having a routine, you know what to do and you take care of yourself. 

           When you don't have a routine.. every day is just it's all over the place and when you're grieving having every day that's all over the place just makes the grieving process that much harder. 

           And self-care is so important.

           Eating well is important. Sleeping well is important and if you're grieving just make the effort to do the basics. 

           We're not talking about an elaborate routine just something very basic. 

           Get up on time. Eat on time. Get some physical activity -it makes a world of a difference. 

8: having a creative outlet during the grieving process can make a huge difference.


           When my mom passed away and when Pryda passed away -I kind of just distracted myself with television. I watched a lot of television.

           I actually watched 12 seasons of Murdoch Mysteries when Prydapassed away - quite a bit. 

           But here's the thing with television  - it feels nice at the moment and it feels like a good distraction but it doesn't actively really help you with the grieving process. That's been my experience at least.

           So when my dad passed away I approached things a little bit differently.

           I had started art classes two weeks before he passed and I just continued them after he passed and honestly having art in my life every day after he passed was so helpful. 

           I can't even tell you how helpful it was. 

           They say art can be like therapy. I never really understood that but now that I've gone through this process it's definitely helpful and it doesn't just need to be art it could be something else too. 

           If there's something that you like to do..some creative outlet continues with that or start it up again.

           It can be very, very helpful when you're going through the grieving process.

9: losing a second parent is really hard -on a different level. 

           When my mother passed in 2012, it was difficult but I still had my dad around. 

           I still had one parent around. Now that my dad is gone it is difficult on a different level. 

           It's hard to even explain it in words... Most people lose their second parent in their 50s and 60s and I imagine it's a difficult process but at that age, it's also a different experience.

           I imagine I don't know but in your 30s. I'm 36. It feels like there's no one else who can understand what you're going through.

           I don't know anybody in my extended friend circle even my immediate friend circle who has been through this.

           Very, very few people have lost both parents so early and it feels like there is this loss of connection to your childhood..connection to your family...connection to your background.

           And I don't know ...it's really not something that you can do anything about..we're all going to lose our parents at some point but it's hard and know that if you've lost both your parents and you're young..know that there are groups out there for support. 

           There are quite a few groups on Reddit and there are groups on Facebook as well. So if you need that external support, do get it. 

           I have thankfully had very supportive friends...I have a friend who I talk to every day. She's been very supportive.. so I think to get through things like this you definitely need support. 

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