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How to Deal with Grief and Loss

Losing a spouse, child, friend or even pet can be one of the most difficult experiences we will ever go through in our lifetime. We know it will happen to each of us but often struggle when it does happen. Sometimes it is sudden and shocking while other times it is a slow process. In either instance, it is very difficult and we are left unprepared.

From A Natural Medicine Point
From a Natural Medicine perspective, the emotions of grief and loss affect the following organs (in this order):

  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Heart

The Lungs
Think of a time when you went to a funeral. A lot of sighing (and crying of course) and you may have noticed that people’s chest area is sunken to a degree. It is as if they have something heavy sitting on their chest.

In truth, it is the lungs that have become weakened due to the trauma and deep emotional impact. This of course, is “normal;” that is, more often than not, it is the body’s natural reaction. It is protecting itself physically and emotionally.

When we start to work through the stage of loss, the lung typically returns to its healthy self.

In my experience, we never really “get over” the loss of a loved one. Rather, we come to accept it, and learn to live the rest of our life, knowing this person (from a physical perspective) will not be a part of it.

There are times – years or even decades later – that a wave of sorrow or sadness passes over us upon seeing something that reminds us of our loved one. I think it is because the person may be gone, but the love we have for them remains.

The Liver. . . The Heart
These 2 organs, when dealing with grief and loss, work in concert. They remind me of a see-saw. The liver has a tendency to get stagnant and congested, while the heart gets weak. This is a very unhealthy situation in the long term.

When the liver gets congested and stagnant, a person exhibits signs such as:

  • Constant anger. They get angry at their neighbor, the government, the dog that ran across the lawn, the bill that came in the mail etc. This is a result of suppressing the grief.

What happens is that over time, the liver becomes overheated due to the emotions that have been suppressed. This results in anger, harsh language, irrational behavior, personality shifts, and even violence of various sorts. The person refuses help from others and refuses to get help themselves. (It is interesting the phrase “bitter person” originated from this. The flavor bitter is associated with an overheated liver and weakened heart. )

  • Depression. When they are not angry, the individual is usually depressed. It is the same energy, but this energy is not moving. It is stagnant. . . .much like the individual. They do not exercise. They do not go places. They rarely if ever participate in anything. They are stuck in a self-imposed prison.

When this occurs, the liver’s energy has (negatively) impacted the energy of the heart and weakened it. In one respect, it has shut down the emotional aspect of the heart. A person’s zest for life is gone. They have a hard time concentrating or paying attention. They “drift” during conversations. They no longer participate in life.

What to Do
Counseling is highly suggested. Talking to someone can be so therapeutic, particularly when you realize that you are NOT the only one. Talking is a release of that pent-up and/or stagnant energy. Yes, it can be painful but in the end, life improves.

Also, there is a homeopathic remedy called Ignatia. It was developed specifically for grief and loss. A person would typically take one or 2 doses and allow the process to unfold. This is for the lungs, as well as releasing the grief and loss feelings.

For the liver, there is an herb called Bupleurum. It helps to move the energy from this area. PLEASE NOTE that it is a strong herb and it is not uncommon for a person to have quite a cathartic reaction. It feels soooooo much better afterward, but can be very difficult to get through.

Finally, most of the time, the heart does not need support. Once the liver’s energy begins to flow, the heart usually “heals” itself.

In some instances, it needs support. The herb Zyziphus is ideal. These are seeds that will help to gently nourish and tonify the heart and the spirit.

Grief and Loss are such difficult emotions to deal with. There is no “handbook” so to speak, that tells us how to handle them. One person’s path is 180 degrees opposite from another. There is no “right” way. We struggle, make mistakes and continue to move on with life.

The only “error” is not dealing with it. I have seen this and experienced it when my father died. The problem is that when you do not deal with it, the energy is still there and will show up in some form or another. I strongly suspect that illnesses and injuries that “just seem to happen” or “come out of the blue” are often a result of suppressed emotions.

Express them. Get help if you are unable to but express them. Life gets so much more colorful, exciting and happy when you do.

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