Nobody Said Anything About The Physical Pain Of Grief

December 13, 2019

Nobody ever said anything about the physical pain of grief.  The nausea. The breathlessness.  The stiffness of the body.  The ache at the back of the neck.  The panic attacks that feel like a heart attack.  The insomnia.  The cold hands. The dizziness.  For me, grief was always very physical.  And it was the biggest surprise of all.  I knew I would be broken hearted, but I didn’t know my body would suffer as much and for as long.  There were times in my life that I didn’t think my body could make it through a grief experience.  When Bjarne was diagnosed I slept with a paper bag on my face breathing in and out every night as I was hyperventilating for two weeks.  When we got home on diagnosis day, I threw up.  And when we got the news at the doctor’s office I became dehydrated fast.  My body weakens and crumbles in front of grief.  I remember one Sunday, months into my grief journey being alone at home, I could not be with my body.  I couldn’t sit down.  I could not stand still.  Being alive was so uncomfortable.  I could not eat anything the first few months.  I could not swallow.  I could not smell food.  I could not be.  Being inside our own bodies when we have lost someone we loved, is a very hard thing to do.  As I am writing this letter to you, both of my hands are cold just by remembering.  But I have been thinking about this, this week.  Especially because the Holiday season is just around the corner and everyone is eating, drinking and are hosting dinners and parties.  When someone is deeply grieving, their body finds it very hard to be in these gatherings.  Grief is eating us from the inside out, while everyone else is feasting on Holiday food.  The polarity of the experience is almost hard to believe.  And I know it sounds gruesome.  But how can I understate the experience of grief during the Holidays. Its ruthless.  I will not join the world of invisibility by being polite about what it feels like to grieve during the Holidays.  Maybe this letter will find its way to your family and friends, so they know how much your body is in physical discomfort.  So they can take care of you more.  The physical pain of grief is not visible in the same way as the physical pain of a wound, or a broken arm or surgery.  People don’t know that your body is suffering as much as your heart.  Well, let’s tell everyone.  Everyone should know.  And what can they do about it?  We need lots of listening, instead of casseroles.  Holding hands, instead of forks.  Warm baths, instead of Holiday outings.  Above all we need, familiar faces around us. Not strangers with wrong words. (Click to tweet!) I wish you less physical discomfort dear friend, and remember that I know how much your body is suffering during this time.  I wish I could take all your physical and emotional pain away.  I hope this letter brings you comfort in knowing you are not alone.  With physical grieving, Christina P.S. Starting this Saturday December 14th and throughout the Holidays I will be sharing Dear Life Podcast episodes about grieving during the Holidays. I hope you listen in: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dear-life-with-christina-rasmussen/id1465291728

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Go Back To The Battleground To Save Your Life

December 6, 2019

I had a mammogram scheduled this week, and I wasn’t just dreading it.  I was petrified of it.  And this was not the only time I felt terror for a simple test.  I spent months coughing over the summer and I avoided every X ray I was offered.  You see, when you spend years as a caregiver seeing death, destruction and lives completely changed through disease you are terrified of a simple diagnostic test.  You have what I call Medical diagnosis phobia.  I came up with this term as nothing else was close to describing the fear when I enter a diagnostic machine of any kind.  This letter may not be as poetic as all the others, but it is equally important.  I want to ask you to be brave when it comes to these diagnostic tests.  I know how scary it is to have them. Doing the mammogram this week was not fun but afterwards I went and found myself the most tasty vegan cauliflower and potato pie and celebrated my courage.  I was proud of myself for getting the test done regardless of the terror.  I don’t use the word terror lightly.  For people like you and I, who have seen as much as we have it is terrifying to go back to the battle grounds.  Today I will ask you to do just that.  If you have a test you need to get done like a mammogram, colonoscopy, scan or you have had symptoms that you have been ignoring, please call and make the appointment. (Click to tweet!) Then, either reply to this message just to tell me you did it, so I can celebrate with you.  Or if you are reading this blog on social media, please write in the comment area that you called your doctor or scheduled your test.  I want you to live a healthy and long life.  You and I still have a big life to live and work to do here on earth.  Let’s keep each other alive.  I know I can’t take the fear away on that day, but I can share my fears with you so you never feel alone when you go back to the battle ground.  With diagnosis phobia and love for my life, Christina P.S. I hope you are listening in: www.dearlifepodcast.com/episodes PPS. And if you are looking for life changing gifts for your family and friends I hope you gift them Second Firsts and Where Did You Go?

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A Melody And Not A Jingle

November 28, 2019

It’s the smell of food being made.  The lights on the decorated trees.  All, reminders of a life. That is no longer ours.  The ghost life.  On days such as today, we get thrown into a life that no longer exists for us,  but we are forced to see it on others.  People who have not experienced tragedy can’t possibly know that when they invite us to their beautifully decorated homes with the 5 course meal on the perfect table set, they might as well be scratching our wounds.  I know, it’s harsh to say this.  I know, I know.  And yes, they mean well.  They want to give us their world so we can feel better.  But they might as well be eating their five course meal in front of a homeless man.  Parading their luxury cars in front of people waiting for the bus.  Need I go on? You may ask, then what?  What can anyone do for someone who has lost their whole world?  For the grieving soul.  They should have pajama parties in front of the tv for us instead.  No meals planned.  No home cooked pies.  Gifts given without wrapping papers around them.  We are alive but not fully living.  Anchored on the edge of life.  When life becomes vibrant around us, we may lose our grip and fall back into the abyss.  This is why it should be a slow save.  A gentle hand helping us up.  The getting back should be a quiet song.  The holiday season for those grieving, needs not be a reminder of all the things they lost,  but a prayer for healing.  Can you hear it? Quiet, but yet there for us.  Inviting, but not forcing. A melody and not a jingle. (Click to tweet!) Life can never get us back by reminding us of all the things we miss.  It must slowly light the way with some popcorn, a new set of bed sheets and maybe a good glass of wine.  Anything else, would be trying way too hard.  With prayers,  Christina P.S. And if you find time to listen to a podcast or two I hope my guests and I can keep you company while you are in your pjs. www.dearlifepodcast.com PPS. And if you know anyone who wants to subscribe to receive my letters weekly send them here: www.christinarasmussen.com/miab

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Will You Come And Sit With Me?

November 22, 2019

It’s heavy in there, isn’t it?  It is as if you are carrying a whole arena.  One, no one can see.  No witness to it.  Even you, you are blinded to your own hurt.  The heaviness, steals the words you wish you could utter.  There is something about the weight of it, that can mask your voice.  When we have not named our pain it feels less real.  The less real it is, the heavier it feels. The less seen, the more impossible to carry.  And we become pain lifters. (Click to tweet!) We all suffer quietly unless, well unless someone can sit with us.  And as we sit together, the arena of hurt transitions from the unseen to the seen.  In many ways, I am sitting with you every Friday.  Finding the words that can unburden the shame, the stress of your job, your obligations, the ways you were treated, the men or women who hurt you.  The hard moments you never told anyone about.  The things you think are not worth sharing. Especially those.  There is so much hidden pain inside us all.  This is why a good friendship can save our life.  A kind stranger can free us. To be seen from the inside is the most healing experience we can ever have.  When I write to you about your hidden arena I am also revealing mine.  You see, we save each other this way.  As I am writing to you I see us sitting together on this bench.  You were the first there and I joined after.  Even just the act of sitting next to each other is deeply felt. Like a big bang. A big bang.  That can lift the pain arena off your heart once and for all.  Mine too.  With a lot of sitting together,  Christina P.S. Join me at The Temple World Event. You can register here: https://www.1440.org/programs/faculty-led-programs/personal-growth/self-discovery/temple-journey PPS. For those who have not read my book that reveals the Temple World, you can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622

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