Making Friends with Grief! How grief can sometimes be met in a more soothing way by making comforting choices.

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my Grandad Mac dying. He lived to the mighty age of 99 years and 2 months old.

Today I had a choice. I could wake up and only focus on the heartache and pain from missing him and once again get dragged down into that dark pit of sadness.

Or I could wake up and make friends with the grief, in order to feel more than the sadness I already know.

 

How to deal with grief in a positive way:

Now that may seem like a weird thing to say. Just how can we make friends with an emotion that comes from loss and despair? Well that is because although we can’t stop the nagging pain from the gap they left in our lives, we can choose how we respond to it.

So, instead of waking up and just crying being overpowered by grief and all the sadness it brings. I decided I’d make friends with the grief, identifying it as ignoring it doesn’t work and acknowledge the way it makes me feel.

Then I decided to use these raging emotions and tame them into something that promotes comfort and showers the despair of grief with love and soothing memories. That output for the grief for me, was writing.

Using writing to deal with emotions:

There was so much I had inside that I wanted to write about Grandad today, that no Facebook status or tweet could capture or satisfy. So instead I found myself writing away and in the end I created this poem:

 

A Toast to Grandad;

Here is to his smile, his loving eyes and even his frown. His uncontrollable burst of laughter when he thought you’d done something, that to him was as funny as a clown.

When you were down, his ability to lift your spirits to 100 feet tall. Not forgetting his loving touch of a individual nickname for us all.

For all his stories, his tales and his amazing memory oh so clear. The love in his voice when talking about Ireland, the home he held so dear.

Although he experienced hardships as a young man and as a boy, He was determined to live out life with laughter and with joy.

Here’s to his songs, the folk tales and to all his memorised pose. Not forgetting the tunes he would hum, to get everyone tapping their toes.

Here’s to his advice, knowledge and opinions, he was happy to lend. For his carpentry masterpieces and the clever ways he knew how to mend.

Here’s to the hugs, kisses and handshakes, when you’d greet him in his chair. He’d amaze you with seeming youthful and not just for the 99th year of a full head of hair.

For his humour and banter that stayed throughout ill health. Not forgetting all his life accomplishments, through hard work and stealth.

The cheeky grin on his face when he knew he’d got a rise. But it was in a loving jest, that the knot around you was tied.

For his soft love and his hard love – either way there’s never a doubt, that he loved all of his family, by an immeasurable amount.

He held each of us dear for our own individual ways, That reciprocated love is what means,in our hearts he always stays.

He left us all making the promise, that as a family we’d stay close. So thank you for joining me, in making the legend this toast.

Sláinte!

making friends with grief. how to deal with grief positively. A poem by helen's journey blog www.helensjourney.com

Finding comfort in photos of those no longer with us:

I also looked through old pictures and used some of them to make a collage, merging images of Grandad throughout the years all together – this was somehow therapeutic for me.

Again the driver for doing this was grief, but the outcome of creating something from it, gave me a dose of comfort, a warm smile and a hug for my hurting heart.

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Bernard “Brian” McMahon born 27th August 1917 in Galway, Ireland.

 

Making comforting choices when it comes to grief:

So, remember we always have a choice. I am not saying to ignore grief, as its a powerful emotion that I know personally can take you to some very low and dark places. It needs to be dealt with and acknowledged for all the things it stirs up in us. Some may even need professional help from a councillor to do this, which again I personally know can help you through the forest of despair and loss.

But after this. it is a powerful choice to then make friends with grief and use it to create something of comfort and a reflection of love for the lost. For me that was writing a poem, creating photo collages and writing this blog.

For you that may be scanning in old photos, singing songs they used to sing, making a toast with their favourite drink, making their favourite food for dinner, making a memory box, visiting a special place or sharing stories about them with others.

Whatever ways you deal with anniversaries of loved ones passing or the day to day gap they left in your daily living, I hope and pray that part of your process can be making friends with grief and therefore have the capacity to not only cry sad tears but also to then feed that friendship love, comfort and happy memories.

May all our friendships with grief blossom to radiate the love we feel for the ones we mourn!

 

Want to read some more of my poetry?

Here are some other poems I have shared (Click on the poem title to open poem in another tab) or you can find them under the ‘POEMS’ option in the blog menu):

“We are WOMAN”   – A celebratory poem for all that is ‘woman’ on International Women’s Day!

“Never Judge A Book By Its Cover”  – A poem I wrote when I felt that I was being judged and treated unfairly.

Fresh Hair of Bel Air – My creative twist on the ‘Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’ theme tune to express my feelings about the experience of donating 12 inches of hair to charity to make a wig for a child with cancer hair loss.

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23 thoughts on “Making Friends with Grief! How grief can sometimes be met in a more soothing way by making comforting choices.

    • charlottecompton says:

      This is a wonderful post. I lost my dad a year and a half ago to cancer and it’s been really tough.

      I also blogged about grief back then but it’s really interesting to read other people’s experiences. Your poem to your grandad is lovely. X

      Like

      • Helen's Journey says:

        thank you for your feedback on my poem & post. Sorry to hear about your Dad, so very tough. I hope you got something out of the post on a personal level and maybe something that can help/influence your coping with the grief in the future ❤

        Like

  1. BDD and Me says:

    I love how you turned your grief into something so beautiful. I do not know you or your grandfather, but after reading your poem it is clear you two shared a special bond. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well as your talent as a poet. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. openthekimono says:

    hello my friend! thanks for sharing your blog on twitter. your grandad sounds amazing. full head of hair at 99?! what’s his secret?

    not sure if it’s fate, but i recently experienced the loss of a close friend as well. it’s funny how death inspires poetry. i began to write as well (stupid morbid poems) and it was really cathartic. i also found stoic philosophy in the midst of grieving. guess there’s always a bright side to everything huh?

    i wrote my experience here that i think you might like : https://openthekimono.wordpress.com/2017/09/06/what-death-taught-me/

    keep sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen's Journey says:

      Hi, Thanks for Following back & checking out my blog.
      A challenge for sure & as each death is different circumstances I’ve had different relationships with it at different times in life.
      But I’m glad as you say I got to experience the richness of making friends with the grief on this occassion (& so glad I did as writing my poem about my grandad come from that 💚)

      Like

  3. katelon says:

    Wonderful post. I always do something each year for the anniversary of my Mom’s death, doing something she would have enjoyed. It’s great you could muster the energy to do that after only the 1st year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen's Journey says:

      Amen! I pray you do! Please check out my “SELF-LOVE” blog posts too as can really help with being friends with yourself etc. Thanks so much for the comment & your appreciation for the concept behind it 😊

      Like

  4. Invisibly Me says:

    99 and 2 months… you grandad was quite the tough cookie, what an amazing man. I’m so sorry you lost him, but equally glad you had him in your life and that you can appreciate the wonderful things rather than just the hurt from the loss  ♥ I think you have made a wonderful tribute to him in this post, and made some incredibly useful, poignant points about dealing with grief. It certainly is a powerful way to look at it. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen's Journey says:

      Right – what an achievement that lifespan was hey! Thank you, It has really helped me release feelings and as you say doing a tribute like this to him was my way of releasing grief in a positive way.
      Really glad you appreciated my poem and message – thanks for the comment xx

      Liked by 1 person

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