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MNPC Grief Space
What we provide:
Mindfulness Grief Programs
Links & Resouces
There's a Reason You're Here
We all need to grieve. To shed sorrow and recover the joy of life. Grief is a natural response to loss. It strikes in direct proportion to love: the more we love a person or a thing, the more we experience grief when we lose it or them. In our world there are so many things that cause us pain and sorrow:
Big griefs: our loved ones die; our relationships end; we lose our jobs. AND
Everyday griefs: a friend lets us down; our children struggle; we feel the loss of roots and community; we are beset by anxiety and fear about the state of the world.
Some days life is just hard. Grief that is held down or suppressed blocks joy or happiness; and – worse – we may feel anger, rage and frustration. Or sometimes we just feel numb. It’s tiring trying to keep all these feelings in.
The Stages of Grief
Many of us may be familiar with the stages of grief, which can happen in no particular order, and which can be triggered by other losses, social circumstances, other bereavements later in life and, particularly by the vocation you are in. We can feel all, none or some of these things - shock, denial, sadness, bargaining and acceptance. There is no right or wrong way to feel following a loss. Some people seek help immediately by showing their emotions and talking to people. Others prefer to deal with things slowly, quietly or by themselves. In the last few years, we all have seen or been affected by events such as covid, war, global warming and economic difficulties which can exacerbate our feelings and which frame and are part of loss and readjustment. And it can be difficult to predict how we might react to a loss, as it is a very individual process. After a loss you may experience any (or all or none) of the following:
Shock, denial or numbness - It is natural for our minds to try to protect us from pain. So following a loss some people may find that they feel quite numb about what has happened. Shock provides emotional protection from becoming overwhelmed, especially during the early stages of grief; and it can last a long time. You may find that you feel numb after a loss. This is natural and helps us to process what has happened at a pace that we can manage, and not before we are ready. It is natural and can be a helpful stage - the only problem being if numbness is the only thing we feel as this can cause us to feel 'stuck' or 'frozen'.
Sadness or depression - Many people react with various levels of or tendencies towards sadness or depression, and wonder if this is normal and how long it will last. For some, getting used to living without the ‘other’ person is unimaginable and takes adjustment and time. Sadness can be catheterized by withdrawal, loss or gain of appetite, self-neglect, too much or too little sleep, and/or the conviction that these difficult feelings will be permanent. The realisation of the loss may cause you to reflect on finding meaning and questioning life’s purpose.
Quotes from firefighters:
“I didn’t have time to grieve at the time my mother died, and have kept myself very busy. Now, 20 years later, I’m feeling her loss as if it had just happened”
“I spent my life looking after other people and didn’t realize I felt so numb and was emotionally unavailable”
Bargaining or negotiation - Following the loss of someone close to us we can be left wondering how we will fill the gap left in our lives. Or replaying in our minds ‘what if…’ or ‘if only I…’. And we can experience a sense of changed identity and adjustment. We may feel a sense of guilt that things could have been different if only we had done things a certain way. This can be tiring and confusing. Others may feel relieved when somebody dies, especially if there had been a long illness, if the person had suffered, if you were their main carer, or if your relationship with the person was difficult. Relief may generate a feeling of guilt; but this is a normal response, and does not mean you did not love or care for the person.
You might have many unanswered (and sometimes unanswerable) questions – ‘why did they die?’, ‘what happens after death?’ ‘will my life ever be the same again?’, ‘can I begin to make sense and refocus my life in different and better ways?’, ‘can I begin to forgive myself or others and give myself permission to live again?’
Anger or hostility - Over time you might find that undealt-with pain can turn into unhelpful habits. Sometimes we can internalize, without realising it, waves of anger or rage. This can be self-directed or aimed at others in the form of abuse or neglect. Difficult emotions are part of this landscape. And trying to find blame, meaning or resolution is normal. There is nothing wrong with you or how you feel, and there are ways to honour your anger and channel it in healthier ways.
Physical symptoms - It’s quite normal to have either delayed or immediate physical symptoms including digestive problems, headaches and loss of concentration. This can signify that our system is on overdrive, with high levels of anxiety or fear about the future. We might feel detached from our bodies and disassociated from our feelings. It useful to notice these changes within our bodies and apply self-care to self-regulate and find ways to manage our needs.
Quote from a firefighter
“After my daughter’s suicide I joined a walking group and raised millions of pounds walking across the UK”
Acceptance - It is often said that we move along with our lives rather than moving on. We never forget; and the normality of the pain is sometimes resonant with the love we shared. During this stage we might start to feel some sense of clarity and settling into a sense of new-found peace and more positive emotions.
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