Grief is something most of us are going to experience
at some point in our lives, but it's still such
an uncommon topic of discussion and that's what makes people who are grieving
feel very alone. And that's why I want to talk about it today. So in today's video,
I'm going to share 10 things that I wish I knew about grief
beforehand. Things that would have helped me and I hope that these things can help
people who are grieving or if you have a friend who's grieving and you want to
provide a little bit of support, I hope that these things are useful. This
is going to be a longer video and it's going to be a
more serious video, so if that's not for you,
you don't need to watch this. But if you're curious, please keep watching.
Hello hello! Welcome back to The Whole Happy Life. I'm Ria.
So it has been six months... no eight months since I
have done a sit-down video. The last one I did was in
December. It's been a very long time. Most of you who have followed my community
post will know what's been going on but if you've missed those posts, I just
wanted to briefly mention what happened. You can read more details in the
community post. In January, just like everybody else I
was very excited about 2020 and while 2020 went downhill
for most people in March, for me it went downhill
in January. On January 9th, my cat ,Pryda, who you've seen
on the channel many, many times... he's in almost every video...
he passed away rather suddenly. It wasn't something that I expected to happen so
soon...he was only six and a half. He got really sick and within two hours he
had to be euthanized. And this was my first experience with
this whole process. And i was very attached to Pryda so his
loss affected me a lot more than I thought it would.
I started to feel better in a couple months and I was ready to come back to
Youtube in March. I did a couple videos and then suddenly my dad passed away. He
got really sick..he'd been sick for a while but he
got really sick quickly and he was gone within a couple
days. And because of the world situation we're in right
now, I couldn't go back to see him because of travel restrictions.
So it was difficult not being able to say goodbye. So
it's been a really tough year for me. I just wanted to take time off.
I was not really keen on being in front of the camera, so i decided to take a
break and I think that break was really necessary, but now I'm back.
In today's video, I wanted to share some of the things that I
learned from this year... from losing my cat..from losing my dad and also some of
the things I learned from losing my mom in 2012. I feel that the more we talk
about grief, the less people are going to feel alone
when they're going through the process themselves. So that's kind of my intent
in making this video.. just to talk about what I've been through...what I've learned
and I really hope that these things can help some people.
Let's begin. The first thing I've learned is that it's really important to process
emotions properly because if you don't, they can end up
becoming a problem down the line. So let me
explain this. When my mother passed away it was my first experience with grief on
a large scale. I had lost grandparents before that but
it didn't really impact me that much because I wasn't that close to them. I
grew up in a way where I only saw them once a year. It didn't really
affect me all that much, but when my mother died, that was the first time
I saw grief in a totally different way and it impacted me a lot. And because it
was my first experience, I didn't know what to do. So what I ended
up doing was I just kind of distracted myself and tried not to think
about the grief. I did not process the emotions. I was fine the
first couple months and then four months later, all the
emotions came out and I didn't know what to do. And I
struggled with them for a whole year. It was a whole year before I felt better.
Before I felt like myself again. Grief changes you a lot.. you'll
never feel completely like yourself but I started feeling normal a year
later. But if I had processed the emotions earlier, I probably would
have felt better a lot sooner. It's a very difficult
process but i think it's a really important process. My suggestion is
journaling. That's something that I found really, really helpful when my mother
passed away. I did not get to say goodbye to her. She
was on the operating table when she passed
and because I couldn't say goodbye there were all these things that I wasn't able
to tell her and it it really bothered me that I
wasn't able to properly say those things. So what I ended up
doing was I wrote down a letter on a piece of paper.
Obviously I couldn't send it to her but just pouring those emotions down on
paper really, really helped. So something like that can
be helpful. Journaling in general.. just writing down
your emotions can be helpful. Another thing that I found very helpful
was talking to a therapist. It's nice to talk to friends and family
but sometimes there are things that you may not want
to discuss with them. Discussing them with a therapist can feel a little bit
easier and I found it very useful. I went to a
therapist for maybe a couple months. Maybe two or three
months - it's probably five sessions and it made a world of a difference. If I
hadn't done that, I don't think I would have properly
processed all those emotions. Sometimes you need a little bit of help.
Number two: there is no timeline for grieving. As a society, we tell people
that they need to move through grief quickly, that they need to move on...
they're being sad for too long...that it's not healthy.. that it's not normal.
Here's the thing with grief, every single experience of grief
is different and everybody responds differently. Some people take
days, some people take months, some people just take a couple weeks.
Everyone is different and every single experience is different.
When my mom passed away, it took me a year to start to feel somewhat
normal... somewhat back to myself and with my cat, it took me a couple months with
my dad... I don't know. I feel that I've sort of
been able to move forward, but sometimes I do think about
it and it makes me sad. So I don't know when I'm going to feel 100 percent
back to normal again. I may never feel that way, but the thing with grief is you
have to understand that it will take a time and
you can't rush it. There's really no timeline, so give yourself that
allowance.. to take your time. Don't do things quickly, don't rush through the
process just because society tells you to.
Number three: grief can be a strange mix of conflicting emotions.
And it can feel confusing not only for the person who's going through the
grieving process but also for other people. I'm going to
explain this with an example. So when my mother passed away in 2012, I
remember the next day at the funeral, someone said something
that i found funny and I smiled and for a split
moment, I was actually happy, even though in my
mind I felt that I should be sad. It was confusing. I was like "how can I be
happy and sad at the same time?". And I remember someone commenting.. oh how
can you be happy? How can you smile? You should be sad, your mother passed
away. And I started to feel a bit guilty about
having that moment of happiness, but what I've realized is grief is not just a
singular emotion. It's not just sadness - there are
going to be moments when you'll feel happy.
There are going to be moments when you'll feel anger. There'll be moments when you
feel guilt. All sorts of different feelings and
emotions pop up. It's not just sadness. So if you were to paint it, it's not just
a big black circle of sadness. It's all these
different emotions and that's okay. So don't feel guilty if you have a
moment of happiness and you feel like you should be sad
and don't assume that because someone who you think
should be grieving is not displaying sadness, that they're not sad.
You can be happy and sad at the same time when you're grieving.
It's sort of like when you have a day when it's sunny
and it's rainy at the same time. It's a bit weird - doesn't happen that often
but that's kind of what grief can feel like so
that's okay. Number four: grief can feel isolating at times and
it's okay to seek support from unexpected sources. So one of the most
difficult things about grief is the lack of support. I know some
people get a lot of support - they have great friends and family
but that's not the case for everybody and
I certainly felt it this year. I have a few friends who are very supportive - very
very grateful for them. My husband's extremely supportive
but there were people who I expected a little bit more from.
And they kind of just disappeared. And then I started to think that it was just
me, but the more I talked to other people who've been through the grieving process,
it seems that it's kind of the situation. It's kind of what happens. There's
actually an article on the Huffington Post about how grief
changes your address book - how it changes your friendships and your relationships
and that article really resonated with me. I feel that a lot of people
find it very uncomfortable to talk about grief - they don't know what to say to
someone who's grieving and because as a society we just don't
talk about this topic, people just kind of stay away from it. It
makes them feel like they don't know what to do. So I
understand why people kind of just disappeared. There were people who didn't
even text me when they found out that my dad passed
away and it was a bit disappointing to me so here's the thing.
If you're not getting the support that you need from friends and family,
there are other sources out there. Talking to therapists is obviously one
avenue but there are other sources that don't cost money.
Things like Reddit groups and Facebook groups as well. There are quite a few
Facebook groups that deal with loss and just talking to someone who's going
through the same process can feel comforting. So when Pryda passed
away, I definitely had a few friends who were
very supportive but because they had never lost pets, I
didn't quite feel like they understood what I was
going through and I just wanted to talk to someone
who was going through the same process. So I joined a Facebook group
on pet loss and i found it really, really helpful.
I met this woman who had lost her cat in a very similar way..
the way pryda passed and she lost her cat two weeks before mine
and we became Facebook friends. Now we send pictures of our cats to each other
and it's just nice to talk to someone who's gone
through the same process. So even if you are getting support from
friends and family, if you need some additional support from
someone who can truly understand what you're going through,
I think it's a great idea to seek that kind of support. It's
Number five: pet loss is way harder than I thought it would be.
Now i've lost pets in the past. Pryda was not my first
experience with pet loss but the other pets that I lost I wasn't really
that attached to. I was much younger.. it's in a different phase of life
and it didn't really affect me that much. But when Pryda passed away
it affected me a lot. A lot more than I thought it would.
Partly because I was so attached to Pryda. I got Pryda
when my mother passed away... a year after that and he kind of helped me through
the process of grieving and he was a very special
cat. Sometimes you have this special bond with a pet. I think the people who
have gone through this know what it feels like. Not
every single pet feels that way but there are some pets that just feel
really special. Pryda was my special cat and he was partly the
reason I started this channel. He was part of my day-to-day routine. I would
wake up in the morning and cuddle with him. I would cuddle with him at night.
He would sit in the office when I was editing videos.
It was a very different experience to lose
him. It was very emotionally taxing for me.
I couldn't sleep. I didn't sleep properly for four weeks
and when my mother passed my sleep was not impacted, so for me this was a
completely new experience. So now that i've gone through pet loss,
I have a deeper understanding of what it feels like for some people to lose their
pets. People who are really attached to their pets. I think a lot of people
look at pet grief and think well it's just a pet..
what's the big deal.. you can get another one. I actually got a few comments
on my YouTube video.. my tribute video for Pryda ..that you could just get another
one.. what's the big deal? I don't think people like that really
understand what it feels like. Just because they're a pet does not mean
that the grief is any less than losing a family member. To me, my pets are my
family members. I treat them very, very well and they're very
important to me. And I think if you have anybody in your life
who is going through pet loss, be a little bit more supportive to them.
They will really appreciate it. I don't think they receive enough support
and they fear judgment and that's why people don't open up, but pet loss can be
very hard. Now dealing with pet loss.. I found there
were a few things that were very helpful. As I said, talking to therapists was
helpful and also just talking to people who have gone
through the same process. I think the comments that I got on my
community post when i lost Pryda were really really
really helpful because they were from people who had lost their pets. And I
think they understood me and I felt understood in a way that I
didn't feel understood by other people. So that
was nice. So definitely..you know.. seek out support
from people who have been through the process.
It can be very helpful. Number six: making a memory box or folder is a
really simple thing that can be very helpful
because it gives you a place to access the memories of your loved one.
Now obviously you can access the memories of your loved one in your head,
you have your memories in your brain, but it's nice to have them in one place
when you can access them at any time... photos, videos, any small mementos...those
kind of things. I did not do this when my mother passed
away and looking back I think I should have. It
would have been a very helpful process. When Pryda passed away, I did this. I have
a memory box for him. I have a photo book of him. iIhave his
urn. I have a little pendant urn in there too
and I also made a tribute video for him. It
was a very difficult process to make that video
but it helped me process my emotions which i thought was very helpful
and now whenever I miss him, I can go back and look at that video.
I can go back and go to that memory box and look at his photos.
So it's just nice to do something like that. So when my dad passed away,
I did it. I have a little folder on my phone.. whenever I
think of him, I can look at his photos and it
gives me a sense of peace and comfort and if you're grieving and you haven't
done this I highly suggest that. I found it very
very useful.. it is a difficult process. When I made
the tribute video for Pryda... going through all of his videos and
photos was extremely difficult. By the end of the
day, my cheeks were completely tear stained. I
cried for six hours straight but i felt better afterwards. So i
definitely recommend this if you haven't done this already.
Number seven: maintaining a routine that includes self-care
is so, so important. There is one strategy that is recommended
on a lot of blogs that talk about grief and that is to maintain a routine.
I did not do this when my mother passed away. I did not do this when Pryda
passed away and I did this when my dad passed away
and I found it very helpful. By having a routine, you know what to do
and you take care of yourself. When you don't
have a routine.. every day is just it's all over the place and when you're
grieving having every day that's all over the place just makes the
grieving process that much harder. And self-care is so important.
Eating well is important. Sleeping well is important and if you're
grieving just make the effort to do the basics. We're
not talking about an elaborate routine just something very basic. Get up on time.
Eat on time. Get some physical activity - it makes a world
of a difference. Number eight: having a creative outlet during the
grieving process can make a huge difference. When my mom
passed away and when Pryda passed away - I kind of just distracted myself with
television. I watched a lot of television. I actually watched 12
seasons of Murdoch Mysteries when Pryda passed away - quite a bit.
But here's the thing with television - it feels nice in the moment
and it feels like a good distraction but it doesn't
actively really help you with the grieving process. That's been my
experience at least. So when my dad passed away I approached
things a little bit differently. I had started art classes two weeks
before he passed and i just continued them after he
passed and honestly having art in my life every day
after he passed was so helpful. I can't even tell you how
helpful it was. They say art can be like therapy..
I never really understood that but now that I've
gone through this process it's definitely helpful and it doesn't just
need to be art it could be something else too.
If there's something that you like to do.. some creative outlet
continue with that or start it up again. It can be very, very helpful when you're
going through the grieving process. Number nine: losing a second parent is
really hard - on a different level. When my mother
passed in 2012, it was difficult but I still had my dad
around. I still had one parent around. Now that my dad is gone it is
difficult on a different level. It's hard to even explain it
Most people lose their second parent in their 50s and 60s and I imagine it's a
difficult process but at that age it's also a different
experience. I imagine, I don't know, but in your 30s..
I'm 36. It feels like there's no one else who can understand what you're going
through. I don't know anybody in my extended
friend circle even my immediate friend circle who has been
through this. Very, very few people have lost both
parents so early and it feels like there is this loss of
connection to your childhood.. connection to your family...connection to
your background. And I don't know ...it's really not
something that you can do anything about.. we're all going to lose our parents at
some point but it's hard and know that if you've
lost both your parents and you're young.. know that there are groups out there for
support. There are quite a few groups on reddit and there are groups on facebook
as well. So if you need that external support, do get it.
I have thankfully had very supportive friends...I have a friend who I talk to
every day. She's been very supportive.. my husband's
very supportive.. so I think to get through things like this you definitely
need support. I hope this video gave you something to think about. If you found it
useful please do give it a thumbs up because that helps other people find
this video - people who might need this kind of information.
I will see you in the next video..until then take care.
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