Lessons From My Recent Loss
November 2023. It is Thanksgiving week. For me it is also the week that we will hold a Celebration of Life for my brother, Eli, who died unexpectedly a month ago.
For me, this has been a month of heartbreak, sadness, confusion, grief, connection, comfort, loss, questions, endings, and beginnings. I have tasted the raw pain that an early and tragic death creates. This experience has been so vastly different than any prior loss I’ve known.
What I’m going through has grabbed me, unsettled me, and asked me to show up in my life in new ways. It has already begun to change the way I am as a mother, partner, and sister. It is changing my experience of being a therapist. Above all else, it has been profoundly reshaping the ways I am taking care of myself.
Shaking and wailing in the moments after learning of my brother’s death, I was deeply grateful for my knowledge of the human as animal, responding through our nervous systems and expressing our experience through our bodies.
In the weeks since, my body has been my guide. And I have listened. Listened to the messages to sleep, to rest. To stay up because despite the fatigue, I needed to immerse myself in the balm of happy memories found in old photos. To eat. To make tea. To have chocolate. To be a mess. To not be a mess. To let go. To let go of more. And more, and more.
Nurturing myself deeply has meant scheduling massages and cancelling appointments. It has meant doing things with less pressure and more vulnerability. It has meant receiving support and giving support. It has meant attending to what needs to be done to with as little effort and as much self-compassion as I can muster, surrounding tasks with space and kindness in ways that I could not even have imagined a month ago.
I am grateful for the self-care roots that I have been cultivating that have grown and grounded me and in this terrible time. I know my self-nurturing and self-compassion will be critical this week in the midst of both celebrating and grieving.
Whenever you are reading this, and whatever is going on with you, I wish you joy and peace, and I urge you to be curious about ways you too can dive deeply into your own self-nurturing and self-compassion.
I’d be honored to support you in working on your own self-nurturing and self-compassion.
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© 2023 Annabelle Coote
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be considered as legal, ethical, clinical, health or any other business or clinical practice advice related to your work as a therapist.