Have you ever been on a ride and found you had made a mistake? What were you thinking getting on that? I admit, I can handle just about any roller coaster you place before me. Fast, upside down, loops, turns – I love them! However, I abhor anything that goes around in a continuous circle. I cannot stand the movement and tend to feel sick to my stomach quickly. I recall one Tilt-a-World ride as a kid and how I immediately threw up the moment the ride ended. Since that time, I have avoided those spiny rides at all costs!
There are three stages of experiencing one of these park rides: standing in line, the ride itself and the effects on your body. Keeping these stages in mind, we can compare our grief journey to an outing at an amusement park.
This summer I enjoyed Disneyland for the very first time. I was amazed at the work and effort they placed in making the cue line for the ride part of the actual experience. My favorite was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. As we waited nearly an hour to get on the ride, time passed quickly. We wove in and of the jungle and ventured into caves tunnels. Before we knew it, we were at the front of the line!
As we journey through grief, we too can lose track of time. Unfortunately, the time in grief is not as pleasant as the cue lines at the park. A day may fly by without our accomplishing anything. Where did the time go? How did the day get away from us like that? The weight of loss can affect how we view the passing of time. Some days will fly by and we honestly will not remember what we did. Others tend to drag along so slowly, that we question whether we will even survive.
Waiting for grief to pass, is really the ride, or experience, for those who have lost a loved one. We wait for the hurt to go away. Each day holds its own challenge as we struggle to finish our grieving. We desire to get off this ride we have been strapped on to without our permission.
Just as a roller coaster can make us dizzy and raise our heart rate, grief also takes a toll on the body. Those in grief often have no appetite and forget to eat. Sleep seems impossible and the idea of resting and ever feeling refreshed again can be a long-lost dream for the bereaved. Perhaps sleep is all you want to do. Finding the energy to get up and out of the house is difficult at best.
Getting proper nutrition and rest is vital to stay well and journey successfully through your grief. Being aware of challenges you may have in these areas is the beginning to getting help. Seek the advice of a nutritionist or doctor. Find what works for you to wind down in a healthy way at night so you can get the rest your body demands. Turn off the television and read a book. Drink some hot tea and allow your body to relax and mind to slow down.
Going through your grief is like entering an amusement park for which you did not purchase a ticket. Yet, you find yourself strapped in and trapped, unable to get away. Remember, the only way off the ride of grief is to go through it and finish it up. While it will be longer than you desire, realize that only by accepting your journey, will it be shortened. While we may scream “Let me off this ride” the only way off is by going through it.
Until next time –