CommuntiyBuild Ventures proclaims 2021 as #BlackBold. We pursue the creativity, boldness, and resilience of our ancestors to advance toward liberation. The resilience of our ancestors is rooted in centering self-care and healing. As we are all reeling from a year of tremendous human loss and acknowledgment and amplification of white supremacy, #BlackBold must include acknowledging grief and finding support to heal.
“But what is grief, if not love persevering?”
Grief is deep sorrow, emotional pain, and a normal human response to losing a loved one. This emotional pain has potent effects on the body. It can increase inflammation which can exacerbate pre-existing conditions. It can weaken your immune system. It can increase blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. Some people may experience broken heart syndrome, heart disease with the same symptoms of a heart attack. I know first hand the real physical effects of grief.
When my mama transitioned almost 26 years ago, I moved with a swift pace to return to “normal.” I soon became extremely ill with flu-like symptoms. The emotional pain that I was trying to avoid transformed into physical illness. I had no choice but to confront what was happening. I was in deep sorrow and denial. I did not allow myself to accept support. When I acknowledged the grief and began to reflect on mama’s life, my health improved. I slowly began practicing, what I later realized, self-care tools. Below are some tools that I use that may help you acknowledge grief and practice self-care.
Grief is emotional pain that can turn into physical pain. What is your body telling you? Get in touch with what your body is telling you by taking deep breaths.
Start by taking 3 deep breaths—Center on your breath. Notice the rise and fall of your body. Then, slowly with each inhales and exhale, start at the top of your head to your toes to acknowledge each part of your body. Notice the parts of your body that do not feel “normal.” This is an opportunity to tend to it. You may need to drink water, eat a wholesome meal, rub your body, etc. Do what you believe will soothe this part of your body.
Start with asking what you remember about your loved one. Sit in silence after each memory that comes up. This is an opportunity to settle in the energy that your loved one is present within. Although they are not physically present, they are still with you.
Journaling can be a reassuring exercise to help you remain present in your thoughts and memories. Journal the lessons that you have learned about your loved ones’ life in a notebook. Ask yourself…
- What did you learn from them?
- What lessons about their life will you carry with you?
- What would your loved one do?
Define a Ritual
Birthdays and holidays are tough. Begin to define how you want to prepare and “be” on important calendar dates. Think about…
- Should I be off from work, if possible?
- What foods do I want to eat?
- How would I like to honor the life of my loved one?
- What are my intentions for this day?
- Who can support me? What do I need from them?
Remember that moving through grief is an ongoing process. The loss never leaves. Be compassionate with yourself as you settle in self-care practices.