Journey of a Grieving Person

Posted On: October 27, 2020

On grieving… my mom passed away 27 Oct in 2018 and I thought I’d write some of what I felt as a person going through grieving. I recognise it can be different for different people and I am in no way dismissing the experiences of others, just wanting to share what is mine in the hope that it can help.

Because I am a highly sensitive person and empath, I was already physically, mentally, and emotionally tired by the time my mother passed away. I was able (and blessed) to be able to take care of her and sleep alongside her when she moved to a private ward. Because we were expecting her to get better and leave the hospital (not running out of time), I would still see clients on a need-to basis (making myself even more tired). I did cancel all workshops/ events that week.

And because I was already exhausted, I was just relieved, then numb (not shocked) when she did pass away. I was surprised that I could not stop crying as I made my way down the hill, and onto the bus, to see my scheduled clients that morning. I could not cancel on my clients because 1) they needed me; 2) they already pre-paid; 3) I didn’t have their number on hand and it would have been too little notice anyway.

After my clients, I made my way to the funeral which was being set up and I had a meltdown at how the arrangements were made. It wasn’t the arrangements that was the real issue. It was my feeling left out of the process – and how fast everything was moving. I remember the rest of the day going by in a dream-like dazed state.

When the night came and everything that needed done was done, I could not sleep. I chose to stay up and write to process what I was feeling. It was in the writing and the puzzlement in my continued crying that I realised what and why I was crying about: I was feeling a loss from the severing of the energetic cord between me and my mom. It felt like the worst heartbreak in my life – cutting so deeply and in such a primal way that I finally understood what grief was. Grief cannot be explained away. It is what comes up without the thinking – it comes in waves and it can come up unexpectedly at the worst possible times and in layers.

Right after the funeral, I did what I needed to when it came to work – postponing all clients for a week; seeing clients on a need-to; but essentially I didn’t and couldn’t do anything else. I was physically and emotionally “fried”. I couldn’t push myself to move or do.

It was more than one month later that my old self and energy began to come back. The sadness of my mother’s passing was most intense the first month, and I am grateful for the space I had and took.

In summary, there was

  • Relief at her passing on and not suffering anymore
  • Numbness (unsure how to feel)
  • Daze (still processing how life will never be the same)
  • Overwhelm (so much happening so fast with so many people around)
  • The actual feeling (tears coming up by themselves)
  • Exhaustion (aftermath; cannot move; don’t want to move)
  • Waves of sadness (functional; manageable with day-to-day)
  •  Lightness (coming back to myself; joy; happiness; fun; travel; curiousity; openness coming back… over time)
  • Transference (to now caring more for my dad)

There was so much suffering witnessed, and stuckness around the house as my mom’s health deteriorated. It permeated everything and affected me a lot. I have new appreciation for the exhaustion of caregivers and the support they need. 2019 was a better year for me than 2018.

I have come to appreciate and understand more about grief and the process than before. I was still so young when my grandparents passed away and even then we weren’t close. Grief has made me a better, compassionate, empathetic and loving person. May we be willing and able to support those going through grieving. May all be well.

About Dr. Martha Tara Lee

Surrounded by friends who were sexually inhibited and struck by dire lack of positive conversations around sex and sexuality in Singapore, Dr. Martha Tara Lee set out to make a positive difference in embarking on her doctorate in human sexuality before launching Eros Coaching in 2009. Today, she remains dedicated to working with individuals and couples who wish to lead self-actualised and pleasure-filled lives.

She also holds certificates in counselling, coaching and sex therapy, and her fourth degree – a Masters in Counselling in May 2018. In practice for more than 10 years, she is the only certified sexuality educator and certified sexuality educator supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) in Singapore.

Often cited in the local media, Dr. Lee is the appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia. She was recognised as one of ‘Top 50 Inspiring Women Under 40′ by Her World in July 2010, and one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women’ by CozyCot in March 2011. She has published four books: Love, Sex and Everything In-BetweenOrgasmic YogaFrom Princess to Queen and {Un}Inhibited.

Martha works with individuals and couples in private coaching sessions, and conducts her own workshops. She takes prides in making sure all her workshops are also fun, educational, and sex-positive. This comes easily to her because even though she is extremely dedicated and serious about her work, she fundamentally believes that sex is meant to be fun, wonderful, amazing and sacred. As such, this serious light-heartedness has shone through again and again. For her full profile, click here. Email her here.

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