Gardening and Grief

It’s just been snowing here.  So I went into the conservatory and stood at the back door to watch it snow. Looking out at the garden, I notice there’s a change in me.  Normally, it will get to the month of February and I will start getting fractious and eager to get out into the garden and start ‘doing’.   Tidying up the winter ravages, cutting back the annual plants, and smiling at seeing the snowdrops peek through the soil.

This year – it’s different.  But then so much has changed in the past few months that it’s maybe just those changes catching up with me.

It’s been a while since I’ve spent much time in this room, because this is what I think of as Gentry’s room.  At the end of January, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to have my best pal put to sleep.  Since he’s been gone, I’ve not really been in here.

I used to come in with him every night to ‘put him to bed’.  Stay a while with him whilst he got settled, had a drink, went out for another wee, and then had another drink… and once he got into his bed, I’d spend 5 or 10 minutes sat with him, being ‘present’ and also giving him a daily dose of Reiki.  I love the time we had together every night – even if it did mean I was up for another half an hour or more whilst he got settled!

The ‘urge’ to get out into the garden is slowly winning.  However, without my little shadow to assist me, I’m not sure I want to.  The main reason the top lawn was kept short was so that he didn’t trip when he went onto the garden.  Keeping the nettles down also – so that they didn’t sting his delicate bits!  Tidying the flowerpots, watering can and other random plastic containers that always end up scattered, because they would trip him up otherwise…

No, at the moment I want everything to stay as it is.  Then I can pretend to ignore the fact that he’s gone from this level of existence.  But the time is coming when I will get out there.  The garden will be tidied, and the car will be cleaned out and emptied of kack… (technical term for rubbish!).

Things are already changing, as insidiously as frost melts from a window.  I find I’ve typed this whilst being sat in the conservatory, watching the snow fall.  Gentry’s bowls have been washed and put away.  His bedding is slowly being washed and stored away.

It may take a little longer for me to be able to move his bed, but for now, things are as they are.

I think that’s one of the hardest things about grief – after the initial acceptance that your loved one has gone as you work through the different stages of grief, it’s that horrible realisation that nothing is going to be the same again – and not only is that thought so sad, but the realisation by actually saying or thinking that thought, the plain realisation that things have already changed.

There are 7 stages of grief according to the Kubler-Ross model, and whilst I see myself progressing through the different stages at different times of the day / week, part of me doesn’t want to admit that progress is being made.  Doesn’t that mean I have to accept things are now different?  Hang on – isn’t acceptance one of those stages?!  And isn’t part of not wanting to admit – just plain denial?!

Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.

There’s no doubt about it, when your world has been so severely shaken up by the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the occurence of a tragedy or disaster – and even overcoming drug addiction – all these emotions will arise.  They may arise in order, or they may well do as mine are currently and appear up in any order, and all over the place, and even at the same time which is a bit confusing when denial and acceptance crop up at the same time…

Whilst there are many tools and techniques that can be used from our NLP and Hypnotherapy toolkit, the key point to this is that grief is a natural process, and should take place naturally.  This means in your own time.

True, there are things that can be done if you are not progressing through the stages, but the key thing is to give it time.

Time – the best healer.

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