Writing About Grief
Nalanie started writing her book, Loss, Life, Love sixteen years after her husband’s death. It took her that long because the grief sucked all creativity out of her. But when lockdown happened, it was the perfect opportunity; she wrote every day for three months and recalled the events with the help of old journals and her family’s memories, since most of Nalanie’s experiences had been blurred.
Writing this book was a jarring experience for her; at first, it was like opening old wounds and dealing with all the feelings and realities of new grief again. But soon, it became therapy, allowing Nalanie to once again come to terms with the loss of her husband and how that impacted the trajectory of her life. However, it also helped her to realise the positives and happiness she felt during that time in her life:
- The support of her friends and family
- The importance of marriage and wills
- Finding new love
- Working through selfless service
- And above all, forgiving the grief for how it affected her life.
It will allow you to come to terms with what has happened personally.
Understanding the Five Stages of Grief
As a grief counsellor, Nalanie has seen many different types of grief and has supported numerous people on their journey to seeing the light on the other side.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist and pioneer in near-death studies, created a list in 1969 of the five stages of grief which everyone goes through:
Denial: “This can’t be happening to me.”
Anger: “Why is this happening to me.”
Bargaining: “Make this not happen to me, and in return, I will …”
Depression: “I’m too sad to do anything.”
Acceptance: “I’m at peace with what has happened.”
Each of these stages is important but are not always experienced in that order. And there is not a standard period for grieving; some people will get through it quicker than others.
It’s a Part of Life
Grief is a necessary part of life when someone or something you love is lost. You feel the pain, and you have to accept and talk about it; this process can start before you lose the person (if you know it will happen). Reading books about death can help you to come to terms with the fact your life is going to change.
Accepting the pain and discussing it is part of the grieving process; talk to a therapist if you need to, but don’t pretend it hasn’t happened. The reason for this is that when grief is exaggerated over a long period, it can destroy you.
Another tip that Nalanie says is helpful is to make sure that everybody who has been affected by the loss is included in the grieving process. Children have lost someone too, so it’s important to talk to them about what has happened so they too can come to terms with it.
Be Patient with Yourself
Nalanie warmly explains that grief is a process that takes time, but as mentioned above, don’t let it continue indefinitely. The pain of the loss will only last for a certain amount of time, and then you will be able to look back and remember your loved ones without pain.
Express Your Grief
One of the best ways to overcome grief is to express it; many people find a journal (written or electronic) as a great and private way to do this. It will allow you to come to terms with what has happened personally and enable you to look back on the positives throughout the times, like your family and friends.
Nalanie Chellaram’s new book Loss, Life, Love is currently available to buy at The Integral Yoga Centre Gibraltar & The English Bookshop in Puerto Banus.
If you would like to inquire about grief counselling with Nalanie, you can contact her at [email protected] Purchase Loss, Life, Love on Amazon.com today.