Allow Yourself the Gift of Feeling your Emotions

Q: My Grandma died over three years ago but this is the year that her death has really hit me. Lately I’ve been realizing how little time I took to actually get to know her and I regret not knowing her better. Also my family keeps commenting on how my cross stitching is amazing just like my Grandma’s was. It’s little comments like that that seem to make me all emotional and sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking of her. How would you suggest I deal with it? 

A: I’m sorry to hear about your Grandma. I can relate. When my Dad died I was devastated and the reality of him not being around didn’t sink in right away. For some reason I found year five of my Dad’s death to be the hardest.

I know from experience that loosing someone that we love brings on grief that seems like a constant roller coaster ride – one that I definitely did not choose to ride.

Grief is a journey and it is not the same journey for everyone. Each day, each month, each year brings on different emotions.

Sometimes I’ll remember something about my Dad – a place we visited or a story he told – that will bring a smile to my face. And sometimes that same memory will bring an overwhelming feeling of sadness. It seems to depend on what is happening in my day.

I have to admit that when my Dad first died I didn’t fully allow myself to feel all of my emotions. I pushed them below the surface. I wasn’t really sure how to act or feel. I was used to smiling and helping others, but this time I was the one who needed help. I found it really hard to reach out for that help and support. I felt a bit embarrassed, like I should know how to deal with his death. I was afraid to surrender, to allow myself to fully feel. However, once I made the decision to ‘just do it’, I began to experience relief.

Allowing yourself the gift of truly feeling your emotions is so important. If you find yourself crying yourself to sleep – it’s okay – allow it to happen.  The more you try to hold your feelings in or make yourself wrong for feeling them, the harder the journey becomes. Finding healthy ways that work for you to feel, to express and to release your emotions is so important for your mental well-being. For me, talking to someone about how I feel, journaling, writing songs, going for walks, crying and baking – are all ways that help me to feel and release my emotions.

I believe it’s important to focus on the wonderful memories that you created with your Grandma, instead of the ones you feel you didn’t. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it so that in the future we can choose to make different choices.

Here is an activity that really helped me to start to heal my grief:

  • Write a letter to your Grandma.
  • Share all your emotions, memories and thoughts. End with why you are thankful for having known her.
  • Ending with gratitude allows you to continue focusing on what you are grateful for

Knowing that you have the gift of cross-stitching that your Grandma also possessed is special. You are helping keep the memory of your Grandma alive, not only for you, but for your family! A beautiful life was lived and you are carrying on her memories.

‘To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.’ – Thomas Campbell

Until next time,

Sara Signature