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In Times Of Darkness



Claudia Morales, MSW

– Healing Care Hospice Social Worker




In times of darkness, when the days are long, when we are cold, it is good to find comfort in what reminds us of what is essential to our lives.  We can learn from our loved ones and the loss we experience to hold sacred what is most essential about their lives.  We can also free ourselves from generational customs and habits that no longer benefit our health and wellbeing without shame nor guilt.  We often feel the desire to recoil from the pain of loss.  This can result in a rush to want to “get over it” or sometimes well-meaning people may also wish to see our suffering end, and also urge us to simply “get it out of our minds.”  To do so prematurely, to speed through our emotions may actually be an act of repression and avoidance.  We can feel physically sick over time, or have more emotional pain, or become emotionally detached when we practice this type of premature attempt to end grief, loss, and trauma.  In other words, in our attempt to avoid pain, we may endure a longer and more difficult period of suffering.  In the midst of safety, loving guidance, and support, we can confront our pain and be guided to process our emotions as they are.

I would like to extend an invitation to tenderly address your emotional and physical needs without guilt or shame.  I would like you to consider all the ways you might reprocess your grief without rushing, and in a way that elevates and honors your deepest needs.  Most religious traditions exist on the basis of elevating changes and transitions such as death and dying, and thus they create immersive experiences to assist with experiencing all the associated feelings attached to loss.  We can extend and create our own rituals as well as, incorporating creativity, art, and music and start new rituals that honor our loved ones.  This way we can maintain those parts of their lives we wish to continue and uphold.  We can also safely detach ourselves from aspects of their lives that we no longer wish to carry forward.

If you ever feel that the pain is unmanageable, there are grounding techniques you can use to help yourself feel safe, while still making the time and space to honor the difficult feelings and memories.  They are simple ways of activating your body and mind that assist with the emotional regulation in the amygdala.  Yoga is a useful way of activating our body and using our breath to regulate emotional challenges.  Using our 5 senses, we can use essential oils, get fresh air outside by going on a walk, and stretch our muscles.  Observing the world around us without judgment, simply observing colors, objects, and nature in a neutral, non-judgmental fashion and help re-regulate our feelings and ground us in safety.  Therapy is a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself and honor your journey.

I invite you to consider that our emotions and our bodies are openings, windows if you will to learn more about what within us needs attention.  You are worthy of responding to this call, and you do not need to do it alone.  While on a cellular level, you are a miraculous being.  The likelihood of your very existence is less than 1 in 400 trillion based on the probability of all your ancestors surviving war, famines, and natural disasters, birthing everyone in your lineage, and finally giving birth to you.  While this life has suffering, there is also suffering that you do not need to carry.  You are worthy of joy, love, and connection.  Working through pain creates more possibility for connection based on loving compassion, safety, and truth.  You can put down your armor.

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