The day began with a bit of mingling before we were brought together for a quick introduction to the schedule of the day and a lovely healing/restorative yoga session. The instructor was a bereaved mom who had special yoga training in working with trauma and grief. Many of the moms said that it was in that yoga session they realized how much physical tension, stress, or dis-ease they were holding in their bodies for the first time and made the connection with it to their grieving. The opportunity to identify it, consciously relax, and release it was such a gift.
Yoga was followed by a group session in which we all had a chance to introduce our child to the group. Speaking for just about 5 minutes each, we lit a candle for our child and passed around a photo of them so everyone could "meet" them. While the photo went around, we talked about our child. Not just about how old they were when they died or what their cause of death was, but about their life, their personality, the impact their life and death had on our lives. There were tears. There was laughter. There was some swearing in both anger and humor. There was compassion. There was no judgment, only love and understanding. The kind that can only come from another bereaved mom. Some of the moms had lost their children as recently as 4 months ago, some a decade or more had passed since their child had died. They lost newborns, toddlers, teens, and adult children. The opportunity to share, learn, understand their grief, and heal was beautiful. The facilitators were heart centered and excellent because of and in spite of their own grief.
Next, there was lunch and an opportunity to connect with those who shared similar losses or had other information for us. Some of us gathered on the front stairs to soak up the sun and chat some more.
The afternoon consisted of a wealth of self-nurturing and healing bodywork, including mini Reiki sessions, chair massage, and an amazingly relaxing sound healing. The day closed with a circle facilitated by a woman who was teaching us how to connect with our children in spirit and included another deep relaxation session.
The day was exactly what it promised - healing and hope. A chance to self-nurture. A chance to stop and listen to our bodies, our mind, our soul, and our spirit. An opportunity for us to be open to receiving love and light, healing energy, and physical and emotional release.
Moms can be pretty hard on themselves on any given day. We are always helping and nurturing and caring for others, putting our own needs last. In grief, we are even more likely to forget to take care of our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, and often, we don't even realize the toll that neglect takes on us on every level.
The thing is, our children, on earth or in spirit, want us to be happy and healthy. They don't want us to wallow in grief and pain. They want us to remember their life, honor them, and yes, it's okay to feel the pain of grief, but through self-nurturing, you can better cope with the challenges of grief and release the pain and fear to open your heart and soul to love. For love raises our vibration and a higher vibration brings us closer to connecting with spirit.
I feel as if today was one of the greatest gifts I've given myself in my grief and it's been ten years. It's an entirely different experience to have all of these relaxation and healing opportunities in one day than it is to have them individually over the course of weeks or months. Of course any opportunity to self-nurture is good! The take home message is that you deserve you time. You deserve time to both honor your child's life and loss while allowing your body to release the tension you hold as a result of the cloak of grief you wear. Taking care of you is vital to your health and well-being. Your child would want you to be healthy, happy while still holding them in your heart and memory. You can have both!
Be sure to take some time to nurture yourself every day. Even if it's just a quite cup of tea, a few deep meditative breaths, or a walk outside. Find something that resonates with you physically, a once a week yoga class, walking or some other exercise, or a massage once a month. Made it a priority to have a date with your soul. You deserve it.