PROCESSING DEATH THROUGH SELF CARE:S.P.E.A.R. – Wendy Blanchard, M.S., CHHC, CPS

It’s been about fifteen months since my mother died. It was seven months from her diagnosis to her death, and completely unexpected, and 100% unnecessary. I was blindsided. Even when she went to Hospice, I still held out hope, as did my sister, that my mother would realize the finality of the decision she had made, and ask for help to save her life. Help that was readily available, yet never utilized.

I have had a terribly challenging time connecting to my inner most feelings relating to my mother’s death. Our relationship, throughout my life, was a tumultuous one, and so complicated to categorize in my life. Her unexpected death compounded the lifelong feelings that were held inside. Maybe that’s the connection here. I had become so skilled and so accustomed to not speaking about my feelings. This led me to lifelong addiction to prescription drugs where I could numb my feelings, and trauma experiences, until I nearly died of an overdose. I decided that I did not want my children to live with deeper trauma than they had already experienced due to my addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

I am now in my ninth year of recovery.

I allow myself, specific times to go within and to connect with this profound loss. And, sometimes the revelation that “my mother is dead,” jumps out of nowhere, and blindsides me, once again.

I think about her life, her limiting beliefs, her very paralyzing beliefs that caused her to be unwell for most of her life, but most of all, how frightened she must have been those last seven months of her life. I hear her in my head saying some of the hopeless and helpless statements that my mother would say aloud to me, and to my sister, separately, and as we would “compare notes,” I became more empathetic, yet even more detached feeling frustrated and at times, helpless myself.

Today was an “out of the blue” “punch in the gut, sucker punch” kind of day in being connected to my feelings, my loss, and my “OMG, my mother is dead!” revelation.

As a health coach and mental health and wellness consultant, I remind myself to follow my own suggested protocol that I share with clients and in my professional trainings, as follows:

  1. Give myself a quiet, safe space to feel it all WITHOUT a time limit. I am allowed to take as long as it will take to process. And, this is the space where I connect to Spirit for spiritual support.
  2. Remind myself that there is nothing more important in this moment than allowing myself to process, in my own comfort and time, and to simply STOP and to PAUSE.
  3. Allow myself the heavy, deep sobbing, and perhaps, if I feel it will be cathartic, write about it in my journal through expressive writing.
  4. Use my deep breathing and mindfulness tools to self soothe.
  5. Use any healthy self care practices that I know will support me, and that will offer healing and peace in the moment, including asking for support from a loved one, friend, or professional. These practices will further the healing process, and build resiliency.

S.P.E.A.R. 

STOP

PAUSE

EMOTE

ALLOW

REST

Love yourself through practicing self care. Inherently, you know what you need to heal, and to thrive.

Self care is the actions that we take to achieve wellness and wellness is where we stand in our power.

When we take care of ourselves, we bring ourselves back to wellness, and here is the space where we can also offer support and care to others.

For information on my coaching and training programs, fill out the contact page here www.harmonioushealth4life.com/contact or email me at wendyblanchard044@gmail.com.

We all have mental health.

You are never alone.

Love and blessings,

Wendy

Wendy Blanchard, M.S., INHC, NYCPS