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Monday, June 28, 2021

What Helped Me Heal and Be Okay (part 6 body work)

One of the things I missed the most with Steve not being near physically was his hugs. I missed being able to lean against him inside of his arms and cry on his shoulder. I missed our time together as a married couple. I missed him rubbing my knee during church. I think in other types of grief you don't have that physical portion that's missing whereas when it's a spouse you lose so much. No one else can give me a hug that feels like Steve's.

I started a monthly routine shortly after Steve died I think mostly to keep myself busy but found that many parts of it were healing. I did a monthly craft night at a local pottery place. I was journaling and blog posting. I was meeting with therapists and social workers. But the other part I added in and extended was dealing with my physical body. I did eventually take medication to help my brain and the chemicals in my system.

I had already been seeing a chiropractor but committed to going every 3 weeks to keep my body aligned. My chiropractor had lost his parents when he was young. He also had worked with Steve as a football coach. It was nice to meet with somebody who understands grief as well as able to heal my physical symptoms. Spending a lot of time in my bed while grieving was not great for my back or my hips. Having chiropractic healing done helped me be able to function and walk properly. 

A friend of mine does massage and I started seeing her monthly. And although her massage was never inappropriate or sexual in nature, it was a good feeling to have someone touch my body. A massage is so much more than just the muscles being relaxed and released. Many times I sobbed through the entire massage as my body was able to grieve and let go of the emotions it was holding. She was also a good listener but let me be quiet when I needed that too.

I had seen Emily a couple of times for a massage and then she learned myofascial release. This out of everything has probably been the most beneficial for me. I still see her monthly. Myofascial release allows the layer of tissue (the fascia) that covers your body to become relaxed and unwind. There is also a huge emotional component. Grief is held in my chest and lungs and by having my body moved in different ways it allows the grief to leave my system. I was also trained in level one myofascial release technique. I have been able to do some with my boys, but the energy connection I feel with them makes it hard.

I have done acupuncture quite a few times. I don't always feel as much relief when I leave the appointment as I do with some of the other forms but it has been helpful. One day I went and had been crying for multiple days off and on. After the treatment I was unable to cry and it was great to feel that way for a few days.

I've tried to space things out so that I was getting some physical touch or something to deal with my body each week. One of the things I worried about during the pandemic was how this part of my self-care was going to continue. I was able to still see these different providers and am so grateful. 

The other things that I have found very helpful in healing have been walking on the beach on the shores of Lake Superior. My family has a camp with private access. Walking along looking for agates and omars while enjoying the sunshine or sunsets is one of the most peaceful activities I can do. I find the physical movement and being by water great for my soul. I feel connected to God and my faith. I feel connections to my grandparents and Steve and others that have passed away. Being out in nature and experiencing the openness has been healing for me. 

I have moderate arthritis in both of my knees and I'm sure forming in other parts of my body. Yoga was another thing that I was doing. Sometimes I had emotional release during yoga also. Taking time to breathe and stretch my body and focus on what I was feeling helped me physically and mentally feel better. This is something that I know I need to get back to doing. Doing yin yoga through YouTube videos with friends once a week with friends is something that I miss. 

Sleep, rest and relaxation are all things that were crucial especially at the beginning. Widow's brain and not being able to focus and process information is a very real experience. Taking time to rest and just veg in front of the TV sometimes was the most healing thing to do.

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