Those little Grief Gremlins…
Beep beep… beep beep… my brain ignores it, it can wait…
Sniff sniff… my brain fleetingly smells it, but continues to ignore it…
Sniff sniff… my brain overrides the smell…
Sniff sniff… its too late…
My eyes well up as thoughts of wasting high quality ingredients, my time and effort in the long preparation, the energy bill, and most importantly… I’m left with an empty yearning space in my tummy where those satisfying healthy treats should have filled.
I’m feeling loss.
I’m experiencing the Grief Gremlin.
Why? Because I got distracted and focused so intently that it burnt, in more ways than one!
I scorn my brain, and wonder why this should happen today, it’s never happened before. Then it dawns on me…
Ahhh. I see… “Goooooood Grief!!”
And so I sit with a cup of tea and an empty plate and write this month’s newsletter. Chuckling and fuming at the same time, I get down to the gritty topic of how to identify and manage Grief Gremlins.
I find it amazing how a grief gremlin can create havoc from something small and simple, and be able to consume us with intense emotions.
How often do we find ourselves so focused on something, that we may lose ourselves, and our own needs in the process? How do we manage these when they arrive knocking at our open door? Do we slam the door shut locking all our treasures away so they don’t get damaged, then isolate ourselves. Or are we able to shake them off like a dog does, allowing themselves to feel, process and continue living in the moment.
Then when we feel like we have managed the small gremlins… along comes a giant monster… the overwhelming deep seated grief that can knock us off of our feet, immobilising us into a blubbering mess…
There has been a fair bit of grief around over the last few years, so I feel the need to explore this topic a little. This part 1 will take you on a variety of journeys, exploring various levels of grief. Then look briefly at how to manage it. Part 2 next month will then explore ways of helping to tame the grief gremlin.
Please take care with reading the following stories.
One, or a couple of them, may spark some uncomfortable feelings or memories for you.
If so, please find someone you can trust to talk to if you notice any discomfort.
I strongly suggest seeking some help from a qualified trusted Kinesiologist or Therapist if you find any discomfort hanging around you uninvited somewhere.
Sometimes even after we have Therapized the Dickins out of our grief, there may still be some residue that pops it’s little head up again in the form of a niggle somewhere in our bodies.
As always, it is essential to notice that it is happening, so we can then do something about it.
Please do not ignore these little niggles. We do not want to give them free rein to turn into a stampede all over those precious bodies and minds.
Of course, you may feel drawn to reach out to me. I can provide a welcoming space either online or face to face to help prevent those stampedes, to help tame, and then transform your grief gremlin back into the cuddly loving Gismo (from the film Gremlins) once more.
Throughout my writing, I also offer some suggestions that I have found helpful for myself and my clients.
These stories contain grief.
The level of grief as always depends on the experience and perception of the one either reading about it or being part of the situation.
These life stories may be a support to you in some way.
They may affirm that others have gone through something similar to you, to help you through and know that you are not alone.
You may feel deeply for these people, as if you are going through it yourself.
Do you relate to being an empath? Do you sometimes feel and become overly affected by others’ emotions. If this is the case, I hope you find some of the suggestions can assist you to feel comfortable as yourself again.
The situations may be a shocking eye opener of how others can be affected by life.
They may be an uncomfortable reality for some.
Whatever it is, please look after yourself and I am available for online or face to face sessions to help to identify and reduce anything that may be getting in your way of letting that grief gremlin go, to feel free and regain peace and comfort in your life.
THESE STORIES MAY BE DISTRESSING TO SOME DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE STORIES SURROUNDING GRIEF.
ONE STORY CONTAINS GRAPHIC BODILY PROCESSES DURING A MISCARRIAGE JOURNEY, WHICH SOME MAY FIND DISTRESSING AND TRIGGERING. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF TRIGGERED IN ANY WAY, WITH ANY UNCOMFORTABLE FEELINGS, PLEASE SEEK PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ACCESS HELP FROM A QUALIFIED KINESIOLOGIST OR THERAPIST TO WHOM YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH.
I CANNOT STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF SEEKING HELP IF YOU FIND ANY OF THE FOLLOWING STORIES/INFORMATION UNCOMFORTABLE.
PREVENTION. MANY RENOWNED PROFESSIONALS’ RESEARCH HAVE FOUND THE BENEFITS OF PREVENTION ESSENTIAL. BY CLEARING ANY NEGATIVE THOUGHTS, BELIEFS, FEELINGS, PATHOGENS, AFTER EFFECTS OF TRAUMA, ETC FROM OUR MIND AND BODY, ENCOURAGES A RETURN OF FUNCTION. OUR MIND AND BODY IS THEN MORE ABLE TO RESTORE ITS ABILITY TO HEAL FULLY AND LIVE IN COMFORT.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO IDENTIFY ANY SIGNS OF DISCOMFORT THAT MAY BE PRESENT IN THE FOREFRONT OR HIDING AWAY IN ANY PART OF OUR BODIES. TO ACKNOWLEDGE, AND WITH HELP, RELEASE ANYTHING THAT MAY BE FESTERING OR DOING HARM TO OUR SYSTEMS IS ESSENTIAL TO RESTORING OUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING.
Now, that is said, as you can see I feel very strongly about seeking help and not feeling alone in your journey.
I hope you can find your courage to read on through these possibly challenging stories.
I hope you gain whatever it is you need to face any grief that may be stuck and preventing you from moving through and onwards, in living a fulfilling life.
I also hope you find peace with some of the solutions that others have found beneficial, and which you may helpful to meet your own needs right now…
Story 1… The Grieving Widow…
They were overjoyed with the birth of their long awaited baby girl.
One day, they were out taking a stroll together as the baby gently rocked along inside her cosy perambulator. They were chatting and laughing about this and that, arm in arm, as the delightful gurgling sounds of their baby sounded like music to their ears.
Such were they immersed in the bliss of their little family unit, they were unaware of the world around them.
And then it happened. In a distracted moment, he took a step onto the road without looking, and stepped directly in front of an oncoming motor vehicle. He did not stand a chance. He laughed or spoke no more.
The invisible tendrils of grief rose up whirling from the ground and encased her. She screamed as she reached out an outstretched hand to him with her feet fixed to the spot on the side walk, but he was gone.
The child was forgotten. Her unheard distressed cries a distant sound to her mother’s ears.
Only darkness, pain, anguish, loss, disbelief, sadness, and a sense of nothingness was left behind for her.
The mother cried and cried, desolate, crumbling down further and further into the clutches of her grief.
Years later she was still found crying over the untimely death of her adored husband which left her broken. She was unable to fully care and love for her precious child who had her own needs to be loved and cared for. She was consumed by the Grief Gremlin and lost the ability to enjoy both her child and life fully.
Story 2… The Uncertain Miscarriage (be aware, may be disturbing for some with graphic bodily functions)…
After many years of trying for their own little bundle of joy, the day finally arrived. The parents were warm and bathed in joyful belief of it finally happening.
The plans began, the room was being prepared. The winnie the poohTM bouncer, the little knitted booties, the baby grows, and more gifts were beginning to come in from the close family members who shared their secret.
The hopeful mother did everything she could to prepare her body and mind during pregnancy and for her upcoming journey to motherhood. The father in waiting did everything he could also, by supporting the mother of his unborn child.
Life continued. They attended a couple of social events, not wanting to put their life on hold, or worry about hibernating and cocooning their precious gift inside her belly. It would all be alright, don’t fear.
And then a little pain came.
She relaxed, she tried to keep calm. It’s only indigestion she told herself, it will be OK.
And then came a little blood.
And then a little more.
Off to hospital they went to get checked out.
The Doctor advised rest, although she was unable to say if it would be OK. Only time will tell was what she told them.
The memory became a little fuzzy during this time, was it one visit or 2 to the hospital?
She recalled a social worker arriving with a teddy, asking if they would like one. They said they would. She offered a support group. “No thank you” was the reply, “we are OK. At least we know we can get pregnant now!” was the positive response.
The days went on, the bleeding continued. The body grieved for the loss of that little child.
Is this normal she enquired.
The replies to this, were “if it fills a pad” and “so many pads per day”.
The bleeding went on, still unsure if it was normal. Gushes of blood came in waves, catching her unawares out in public and at home. Massive clots came out in the toilet, some felt like the size of her palm. She wondered if these clots were normal and may be part of her lost baby. All this uncertainty with time slowly passing by.
She lost a lot of blood over the following days. Whilst in the middle of a childcare course, she went to buy more pads from a shopping mall toilet, and ended up unable to leave the toilet due to being unable to manage the amount of blood. Was this normal she continued to ask??
She needed help and support so she put herself first, swallowed down the guilt at calling her husband at work for help. He came straight away leaving his work behind him for her.
At a medical review, the mourning parents were told that she needed to have a “D&V”, all the while being educated about medical abbreviations and what is considered normal, what to be aware of, etc, during this time of loss.
It was decided to cancel the D&V, repeatedly being told “your body is getting rid of it by itself, let nature take its course”.
The bleeding went on.
This story ended in a whirl… At the next review appointment, the uncertain grieving not quite mother was asked up onto the examination table where the Doctor extracted the trapped “necrotic tissue” foetus out from her almost closed cervix. She was then whisked onto a hospital ward and remembered booking herself in. They had to decide whether to pay a set fee for her stay by using her private health insurance, or to get the same bed for free in the public system.
Days followed in a single room hospital bed with IV antibiotics and IV iron, more scans, discussions about the course of action.
She remembers the wonderful caring staff, the enjoyment of being looked after and not wondering what to do, or whether what she was experiencing was normal. This stay finished with a gentle “Curate” the day before she was discharged home, back into reality without anything to show for this ordeal apart from an aching womb, a teddy bear and a little hope that they could try again.
Over time, her logical brain couldn’t keep up the façade of “It’s OK, we can keep trying”. She fell into becoming her grief, her grief became part of her everyday life and the grief gremlin got bigger.
Kinesiology helped her through her grief. When she was ready, it helped her to identify and shed her grief gremlin, get stronger and piece herself back together, appreciating herself and her life in the moment. She was able to tame her grief gremlin, and know that sometimes it rears it’s head and needs a bit of TLC. It is OK however, as the grief is brief, acknowledged and processed so it doesn’t last.
Story 3… The Emptiness of Wanting a Child…
George and Mildred were trying for many years to conceive. They managed to fall pregnant once, however it was not meant to be, and they unfortunately lost their unborn child.
They had ups and down.
Month after month, it appeared to be a relentless circle of hope and then loss and grief.
It was like a game was being played. When one was sad and down, the other was able to be the strong one and provide support and comfort to raise their spirits. The next time, the other one had a downer and the roles were reversed. It was like they were on opposite ends of a see saw, never both being right down at the lower end unable to bring themselves back up.
Sometimes George would have secret shameful thoughts of blame towards Mildred, its her fault.
Other times Mildred would have them towards George.
Are we doing enough they would ask themselves and each other.
Just relax they were frequently told.
Try this, try that was the advice from some.
Why aren’t you doing IVF they were asked, or some similar words at a friend’s gathering, when neither were prepared to be asked.
People would frequently ask them, “when are you going to have your own then?”. The response would initially be a defence mechanism, deflating, turning it into a joke, offending the asker. Always keeping the secret, protecting themselves from pain and hurt. However the underlying emotions over the grief and keeping the secret being felt like little cuts.
Whenever out with friends or family and seeing other people’s children, it would feel like salt was being rubbed into one or the other’s raw wounds.
“At least you have lots of time to yourself” came extremely helpful statements to George and Mildred, and “you wouldn’t understand, you don’t have kids” and other helpful ones came again and again another.
“Just give up, and then it will happen” George shared what he was told with Mildred. Then they gave up and secretly hoped each month because they’d “given up” that it would now happen.
Do they let their joint custody of the grief gremlin drive a wedge between them, or does it make them stronger together by being honest with each other and communicating openly and providing support to each other.
Story 4… Recent Events…
The lockdowns begin.
The fear rises.
Are we going to die?
How can we stay safe?
Is it real?
Will our jobs be safe?
Will our families be safe?
What is the right thing to do?
Who are most important to protect, and how?
Will it ever end?
The sense of isolation increases.
Lost time visiting family and friends.
People dying alone.
People dying because they are alone.
Loss of connection.
People hiding away.
Loss of facial expression.
Segregation appears dividing people.
Is it safe to be around other people?
Many, many questions.
Will it get better or will it just get worse?
Stay strong, stay connected, acknowledge feelings, reach out for help and tame your grief gremlin.
Story 5… A Childhood Loss…
Rupert was minding his own business playing in his play pen with his favourite toy, Rudolph the Rabbit.
Oh boy did he love his Rabbit.
His big floppy ears, his squishy body, bliss.
Along came a charity bag posted through their letter box.
“Do you have anything you want to give to a child who has nothing?” asked his Mother.
“What about your Rabbit?” she asked.
“Noooo not Rudolph” he replied dismayed.
Over the next couple of days, his Mother encouraged him to part with something so he could help a child who was less off than him.
Eventually he gave in and parted with his beloved Rabbit, in the hope that it would bring a lonely child some comfort.
He never forgot that Rabbit, like some part of him was given away. The Grief Gremlin was on the verge of taking hold, always in the background, in two minds giving a child happiness, and having given away his valued Rabbit who loved him.
His grief is real.
Is there someone to provide the space for him to truly express his emotions? Is he able to find the words to express himself fully? Does he need to use other senses to express himself, and can he connect to those senses? Would he benefit from the assistance of someone who can help him to do this? One seemingly small grief gremlin may determine how he integrates himself into his future life and express himself around others.
Grief can rear its ugly head and stay attached like a second head. It may remain always whispering in an ear if it is given permission to, or not acknowledged. It may fester when not having any time spent on it to tame it with love and care.
So… How do we get through grief?
We all need an outlet, a way of understanding our grief gremlins and how they can affect us. In my experience, if they are not acknowledged and dealt with when they are small, they have the potential to manifest into a physical or emotional block. This block may range from, restricted movement in a limb, to fear or worry stopping us from doing something we love or need to for fear of more loss.
So, let’s explore what is most important right now…
To acknowledge and be aware of our grief.
To perceive the grief as an emotion, something that comes and then is meant to go. An experience, a storm that may sprinkle over us or completely drench us.
To then stand back under cover out of the storm. Giving ourselves time and space to be able to truly sense what it is, to find comfort somewhere and with someone to be able to process it through, to be aware of how it has, or is still affecting us.
To understand that it is not meant to be part of our personality.
To nurture ourselves, to know that it will pass.
Nourishing our precious insides with warming nutritional foods, helps us to stay dry, and rekindle the fire to clear away the dampness and restore essential heat.
To welcome in our supportive tribe members to our safe space, even if it is just to sit with us without a word, or may be a telephone or online conversation whilst the emotional storm is raging outside.
To know we are still ourselves. Our grief does not belong attached to us somewhere festering and disrupting our ability to truly live and love again.
To value and accept ourselves even though we may feel like something or some part of us has been taken away. It is OK to accept help, we are not made of steel.
To find comfort by Trusting that we are meant to be here. It is not our fault, we don’t become great by striding straight to the finish line without making mistakes. The mistakes can help us become great, provide our strength and insight into what is most important in life. We truly win our race by being present through all the bumps and bruises, the losses, and even when we come last.
To reconnect with our hearts, to let love back in to truly heal our grief. After all, would we feel grief so strongly if love wasn’t there in the first place?
I wish you success in nurturing and understanding your Grief Gremlin.
Please be aware of yourself and your needs. If you find you have any uncomfortable feelings that may have been triggered from any of the above, seek assistance. If you have anything unhelpful that is lingering and restricting you, or you need someone to help you move out of grief, please seek assistance from a qualified Therapist whom you can trust to guide you towards comfort.
- Lifeline 24 hour counselling and crisis support chat 13 11 14
- Beyondblue Support Service 1300 224 636
- Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800
- Mensline Australia 1300 78 99 78
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Here’s to embracing the love, and feeling it for ourselves. Allowing ourselves to hold that love within, really feel it for ourselves as much as we had loved our lost.
To be Continued…
Part 2 next month will go into more of the taming of the grief gremlin… I wish you well in understanding the grief gremlin until next time. As always, thank you for reading x
Copyright Mandy Wheen. All of the information on this website is for information only. It does not claim to diagnose or treat conditions. Please take responsibility for your own choices and actions. If you are under 16, please seek assistance from a legal guardian or a qualified medical practitioner.