Experiencing Loss

Experiencing Loss

This post is disjointed. It’s not a nicely packaged and smoothly flowing account of loss. That’s just not how it works. Even after 14 years. Nevertheless I want to share. This is not my usual type of sharing, but it’s something I really feel drawn to do right now. I feel a bit vulnerable!

I want to write ‘this is a difficult time of year for me’, but it feels like that’s what I should write knowing tomorrow is the anniversary of my mum’s death, but not what I actually feel compelled to write.

I’m starting to realise that what is in my head isn’t necessarily what is in my heart or in my body. Externally there isn’t much stress in my life right now, however these past few days I’ve felt the anxiety rising. Anxiety in my throat, buzzing in my head. I make the link that it must have something to do with 4 October, but I do that intellectually, not because that feels like natural inner knowing.

I think I’m still at this point of seeing and understanding my losses in an intellectual way, but slowly I’m working my way into the ‘feeling’ way. Which is fucking scary. But also exciting, actually. I get to explore the feelings I couldn’t when I was 15. Thinking about that makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time!

Whenever I write my blog posts I want to help people. I want to use my experiences and learnings to connect with others. I like to structure things. Go logically from one point to the next. Draw conclusions. But this subject, I experience it, I have experienced it, but I haven’t got the ability to sum it all up nicely and serve it up to you. So the reason for writing is in the hope that just by sharing it, in its totally imperfect way, it will help at least one of you.

If you’ve been through such a profound loss, know that I know, know that others know. Each person and each loss is unique, but know that there is also a shared experience. And an experience worthy of sharing so we can feel less alone in our pain.

By Iris

Hi I'm Iris! I'm a mixed media artist, teacher & vlogger from London, UK. I make raw, quirky and emotive art. Online I inspire & encourage people to make their own unique art and express themselves.

12 replies on “Experiencing Loss”

Oh Iris, I am so sorry you are feeling this. As you know I suffer from nasty bouts of depression and anxiety which I dont even have a great ‘loss’ in my life to explain. This may not help, but I am going to suggest it anyway as its helping me just now, one of my on-line art tutors put me onto a book by Eckhart Tolle called ‘The Power of Now’, the idea is about those negative thoughts in the head and how unreal they are. Do look it up and maybe read a review or two, maybe its not for you which is fine but just wanted to share something that is helping me. Take Care now xx

Thank you Lynda, I really appreciate your comment, because I know you suffer from depression too. I have actually read The Power of Now! I very much like its premise, although having come from all-consuming depression and living a more balanced and happy life now, I do sometimes feel like the ‘it’s all in your head’ approach only makes sense after you’ve already reached ‘enlightenment’ (for lack of a better word). I do get into negative moods and thinking patterns occasionally though. I think what I’m working on right now (with the help of my therapist) is being more with my feelings and just letting myself experience them, because I’m in a better position to do that now than I was when I was 15. At that age I was very depressed, but I wasn’t actually truly experiencing my feelings. I dunno if that makes sense, it’s only half starting to make sense to me! Lol!

Hi Iris, Yes, I understand about such a loss… It’s good to recognize the feelings in the body and work with them. Every cell has consciousness, and our emotions get embedded in the cells of our body. If we allow them to be, there can be process. It is exciting, as you put it, to process in a new way. I lost my mom last year, and it’s still a big empty space even if we lived an ocean apart. That is my latest big loss, but sometimes losing pets can be very traumatic too. I believe grief makes us more compassionate toward others. 🙂

I’m sorry to hear you lost your mum too Maria. That’s really tough. I like what you describe about the feelings in the body. And yes, I really agree with what you say about pets. Everybody has their own frame of reference when it comes to the feelings and losses they experience. I hate that one-upmanship that seems to exist in some places where people talk in a ‘my loss was worse than yours’ type of way. Anyone’s loss or experience does not need to be explained away or validated by anyone else.

Thanks Iris, I love that you have read the book and your take of it, I am only one chapter in (what do I know LOL) but feel it is something I need to try for my own sanity. Thanks Maria, also sorry for your loss. I have lost too many of my dogs which I didn’t want to compare with loss of family members here – though to me they were my family, I lost two within 3 months of each other – the last one age 4 to bone cancer, as Iris was saying there is so much one-upmanship about loss its untrue especially in the dog world.

These are the moments when I feel most at a loss for words (loss and lost) and just wish I could magically make it better for people (others and myself!). Having lost my mom much later in life (I was 34), but still feeling it was way too soon (especially having my kids miss out on having their Grammie), I can somewhat relate… but at such a young age, I am sure it was much different. I went through it with a friend who lost her mom when we were in 7th grade. Such a hard thing to process and something that leaves a deep, deep wound. Maybe I was hearing your heart last night when the thought popped into my head, “I want my mom!”, and for no apparent reason… There is a book called “Journey of Souls” that has helped my Dad and I to consider possibilities about life and death… it really helped my Dad, but I had some issues with the details so while it did give me some good food for thought, I am a skeptic/mystic that keeps wondering without defining. Anyway, I don’t even know why I’m sharing all that with you when all I really wanted to do was reach out and give you a hug and send lots of love. But I will leave it in case there is some purpose beyond my understanding. YOU are such a blessing to be getting to know and I hope that there will always be light for your path, in even the darkest clouds. Much love to you, Iris. <3

Thank you Julia, I knew (hoped) this post would resonate with you. It’s kind of surprising, but without noticing I’ve moved past the ‘need to make it better’ stage, and into the ‘trying to really connect with the loss’ phase.Maybe not part of the classic stages of grief, but it’s how I make sense of it. I think I do discover different parts of the loss as I get older. Becoming pregnant and having kids was a huge thing to me, really bringing home the loss again and feeling so vulnerable and needing my mum. I used to never think ‘I want my mum’, because admitting that was too painful. But nowadays I do have that thought more often. It usually brings me quite close to tears, but I’m also so grateful that I’m able to allow the thought into my consciousness. A book that really helped me was Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. When I read that it was like reading about myself, about a lot of things about myself that I never understood and didn’t even realise were connected to the loss of my mum. She also wrote a book Motherless Mothers.

Hey dear Iris, my then close friend lost her mother at the end of a long battle when we were 15 years old, so I have some idea how it is, but can never compare with if it would have been my own mother 🙁 We are no longer close, but I know she is a mother now like you and I am sure she is feeling the loss still so much. Sending you love and comfort!

I am so sorry for the loss of your mother….and all of years lost without her since.
I just began art journaling a couple of weeks ago. I have always loved journeling and loved art but never put them together until now. I am 52, years old and just began the grieving my own mother who died when I was 5 of cancer. I have had many losses and lots of trauma in my life. Everything hit me over the head a couple of months ago and I knew it was all related to the loss of my mother. I am a woman of strong faith and know that now I am finally in a place where God knows I can handle experiencing this enormous loss with Him by my side. I found your site when looking for new ways to express myself and I found what you wrote resonated with me. No wonder. I too, hope to be able to access and work thru some of my pain during this time with my journeling. Thank you for your transparency.

Annie, thank you so much for taking the time to write your thoughts to me. I can’t imagine the pain you must have been carrying with you since childhood, that you maybe even didn’t know about until now. I am not religious but I really connect with your feeling of being in a place where you can experience the loss. It only comes with time that we can reconnect with such painful experiences and work through them. I am glad to hear your faith helps you with this hard work. So glad you found art journaling, I hope it brings you joy, peace and resolution! Big hugs.

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