I live in a beautiful city called London, located in a breathtakingly beautiful province called Ontario and a country I am so proud to live in Canada.
Each day I awake with a mantra to “be a miracle”. This allows me to start my day with gratitude and be the best version of myself and always serving others any way I can.
As a member of my community, I volunteer at St. Joseph’s Hospice. This experience on a weekly basis honors my soul as it’s a true gift and quite frankly a privilege to be part of someone’s life when they reach the stage of palliative care.
Recently, I completed a six week course on grief and bereavement. A small glimpse into the world of Thanatology. During the course we were often asked how many times our friends and family would say things like, “How can you volunteer there, isn’t it depressing”. Each week I ruminated on this question and it certainly evoked many different emotions for me.
Then…the AHA moment occurred….
This is the true representation in all our lives. This is the ‘unbalance’. Trauma, loss, death, injury…. we are not born with the innate ability to just “deal” with these things. They come unexpected and everyone reacts to them differently.
As a medical case manager for over 23 years, I witnessed how the human spirit reacts to such loss. Some people cry and are inconsolable, others laugh (as a nervous reaction and their inability to know what to do), some people keep themselves so busy that they describe it as a “numb” stage and the barrier to allow them not to “think” or “feel”. My point is we, as human beings react to loss and trauma in many different ways.
The ‘unbalance’ occurs as sometimes we cannot get ourselves back on track. There is no time lineage. I have seen and heard many times someone say, “Well it’s been two years, surely you’re over this by now” or my favorite comment is “I can’t believe they have moved forward, as (person who has passed) has only been gone for a year”.
In our course, we were taught some beautiful strategies such as:
- Not to judge, to just allow
- Not to speak, to just listen
- Lean in and show your genuine ability to care
- There is no time lineage, it’s a journey of healing
- Silence is sometimes the best strategy
- Crying can be a cleansing for the soul
- Many emotions are shown, allow what is to be
- Each support group will vary
- Allow your loved one the space they need
- Be present in all capacities (physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological)
So, I ask that the next time you or someone you love experiences a loss or trauma, embrace the ‘unbalance’ and allow what is to be.
The takeaway this week is that sometimes you have to embrace the ‘unbalance’ for a period of time that is unknown. The good news is work life balance always returns when the time is right.
Donate or volunteer for your Hospice if this resonates with you on any level. It’s life-changing.