When my friend and someone I cared for passed last February it was the hardest time of my life. Seeing the news that Jagraj Singh left his body, I wrote about my experience of him here has prompted me to share what I felt then and what got me through.
Just like Jagraj Singh, my friend knew his time was coming soon and he wanted to live, he was an optimistic person most of the time and saw beauty in everyone. The days after he left his body were a blur and a mixture of emotions. I was relieved his suffering was over, a whole essence of myself had shifted as a lot of my energy was spent on thinking about his well being. I was distraught that we would never have a conversation again, that we had talked about death but not about funerals and grief. I felt rough, I had cried so much I had got heavy dehydration.
One morning after their funeral I sat on my sheepskin for Sadhana and cried my friends name out ‘I can’t F***ing do this’ ‘This is so F***ing hard’. (This wasn’t a one off occurrence, I had said these words while driving, tears flowing, Kirtan playing. Each time stunned that the roads were clear, it was horrible and magical at the same time.) Anyway I sat an waited, for nothing in particular but some guidance was welcome. I remembered each time I had chatted to my friend about yoga, workshops, festivals. The time they said to someone while I was chatting away ‘She does yoga’ as if I was some enlightened being.
They wouldn’t want to see me like this. I told my friend I would always have yoga and art and that I would be ok. I wanted to honour that and follow through.
So I showed up on what happened to be Day 40 of Nabhi Kriya, the Kriya to develop strengthen and centre the navel point, a great preparation for, you guessed it, grief.
Four key things:
- This will be hard but you can get through to better days
Grief is HARD, it sets you off balance and your detached from the world for a while but still living in it and doing daily things so not only is it hard but it’s weird too. You go through the 5 stages of grief even when you don’t want to be so predictable. It’s going to happen anyway so you may as well just let it happen. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You will get through.
- Grieve however you want to
I remember when I got back from a long drive, people were around to give me a hug and talk about it, I didn’t want either. I wanted time and space to process. I journaled memories and chatted about the things they had taught me about life over cups of tea. I put a picture of us at my dressing table to have something to smile at each time I got up. I did a meditation to restore emotional balance often as it was so calming.
- Appreciate and accept
I moved into being grateful and appreciative of my friend being in my life the short time they were, pretty quickly as does anyone I imagine with a spiritual practice. Grateful for all the things they had taught me, things I had changed that have bettered myself, for the fun memories and times together. I accepted this reminder that life is short, I made a promise to myself to not only read, write and learn but experience life more. Now it was the time – to really enjoy life, to live it, happiness is our birthright and also a choice we make.
- Do whatever you feel and in remembrance
I celebrated (to continue this tradition) and was around people that knew them. I wrote, journaled and read in the gaps we would have had conversations, I planned trips to art galleries and made time to see friends. I started to get really clear on what I really wanted and that life was meant to be lived fully and though I felt alone, I could start again from zero. I’ve added many more memories to my happiness jar this year that soon I’m going to buy a bigger one. I started (and finished) a project, the living list.
I used this as an oppotunity to grow rather than stay in sorrow. So far so good!