How Embracing Grief Can Open Us Up to a Beautiful New Chapter

“When we are brave enough to tend to our hearts, our messy emotions can teach us how to be free—not free from pain but free from the fear of pain and the barrier it creates to fully living.” ~Kris Carr

It’s crazy how you go about your life thinking all is okay, and then BOOM, something happens that changes you forever. Grief and loss come and hit you in the face.

You know… the days that you start as one person and end as someone else.

But it’s not your first loss or trauma! You had a childhood of pain and suffering, which resurfaces when the latest loss happens.

The old stories and beliefs you had about being jinxed come back. You think, “Maybe the world, the universe, or God does, in fact, hate me.”

This has happened to me multiple times, and I thought I was a pro, especially since I help others process trauma in my work.

The first big time was when I was twenty-six and a policeman called to tell me my dad—who had been an utter nightmare when I was growing up—had taken his life.

In theory my life got easier without him, but that phone call triggered a lot of pain from enduring his abuse as a kid.

I didn’t have the tools to deal with this pain, so I numbed my feelings with alcohol, busyness, helping others, and chasing after unavailable men.

But I couldn’t outrun it anymore when another grief came along: the loss of the dream of a future with a man I loved deeply, who didn’t choose me or love me back.

That second grief moment seems smaller and was nearly ten years after I lost my dad, but it seemed to affect me more. My way of surviving grief by running from it just wasn’t working anymore.

The pain got so bad that I didn’t want to live. I felt hopeless and lost. I had to find different tools, as I wanted to move forward with my life. And find love. Running from my emotions was not helping me.

This launched my path to healing, which started with self-help books, podcasts, and blogs like this one. I wanted to understand why this relationship-that-never-was had pushed me over the edge.

I remember reading Facing Love Addiction by Pia Melody. It showed me that this pain I was feeling from the lost relationship was actually from my childhood.

Slowly, I came back to my loss of my dad and the way he treated me when he was alive.

I found my way to somatic therapy to help my body process what I had been through.

I found other tools like mindfulness, emotional freedom technique (EFT) tapping, meditation, inner child work, journaling, and self-care practices. Slowly, I began to heal the past version of myself. The one who lost her dad at twenty-six and the child who didn’t get what she needed from him. Then the thirty-five-year-old who was grieving a relationship with a man who didn’t choose her.

As the clouds parted I saw the light again through my healing. Therapy, the world of self-help, and personal development saved my life.

I found a beautiful, healthy man to love me, and we got married. All my dreams were coming true. I even left the corporate world to help others, as I was passionate about the modalities that had changed my life.

I genuinely believed I was fixed!

Then the third big grief came along. Maybe small for some, but it rocked my world. I miscarried at ten weeks pregnant. A pregnancy that came so easily at forty was gone like a dream.

I did the same thing I’d done when I lost my dad: I numbed myself. Mainly with my work and clients. Running a business keeps you busy and is a great escape from yourself. Soon, my friend wine was back to help too. I found all kinds of ways to escape the pain.

But I couldn’t run from this grief for as long as I ran from my past griefs, as my biological clock was ticking loudly. It was time to try again for a baby, but I just couldn’t do it.

I was frozen in fear.

Numb from the loss.

Not feeling good enough again.

The darkness was back, and I was lost in it! Thoughts of giving up were back too.

I thought I was healed! And helping others with their traumas. How could I be struggling with my own?

Fortunately, I knew to use the same toolkit I had used the last time, but my nervous system was frozen in time.

So I took baby steps to get help. It started like before, with books and podcasts. Like I was dipping my toe back in.

I read a book specific to miscarriage loss, The Worst Girl Gang Ever by Bex Gunn and Laura Buckingham and, more recently, Kris Carr’s I am Not a Mourning Person.

I started to invest in a space where I could process grief. This time, I chose to work with a somatic therapist who could help me release the trauma of this loss from my body through nervous system repair and also does integrated family systems (IFS) parts work. This helped me understand the parts of myself that do not want me to proceed with my dream of being a mum.

Parts of our minds are trying to protect us and keep us safe. We shame and hate them for limiting us. But when we get to know them, we understand why they are holding us back. It’s such a beautiful way to get to know our inner selves.

I also began to work with a coach who specializes in baby loss. I found resources and people that were specific to the pain I had experienced. Just how I did with my dad and the relationship loss previously.

I did get pulled into my shadow behaviors like drinking wine, overworking, and eating sugar, as these had helped me in times of grief before. But they were just a plaster over my sadness and wouldn’t help me move forward to become a mother.

I have uncovered that this loss is about my relationship with my body and the trauma that has been stored in it. And I have gone back to the childhood wounds around my body, related to my father constantly telling me I was fat, and how I have treated it.

I have given myself space. To actually grieve. To cry. To be angry. To release.

I am an EFT practitioner, so I use an EFT tapping technique to process any emotion right when I’m feeling it. In that moment.

I don’t run from it. I sit with it. I allow myself to feel the discomfort of my emotions. The first time I did this, it brought back the loss I felt for my dad. My childhood. And every other relationship I lost along the way.

No matter where you are on your journey of life, grief is something we all have in common. None of us escape it.

We are guaranteed to experience it multiple times in our lives. We can numb and avoid it. We can run from it and let it sabotage our present. Or we can choose to meet it and love ourselves through it.

After I lost my dad, running from my grief sabotaged my dreams of finding love with a healthy man. Facing it meant I was able to break that pattern. That is what allowing space for grief does.

Years later, a miscarriage could have stopped me on my dream to have a family of my own. Because I didn’t want to face what this miscarriage brought up within me. The pain of the relationship with my body. How I spoke to it and treated it and what others had said to shame it.

It is natural to want to avoid the pain. To run. But then you have to look at what the grief is holding you back from. A healthier, happier you. Your bigger dream and vision for your life.

I had to change my calendar to literally create space for grief. To remove the busyness. To allow my nervous system to feel safe enough to process the grief.

I decided to only spend time with people who could support me in it and socialize less so I could take really good care of myself. I canceled plans and just nourished myself all weekend with self-care.

I am not going to pretend grief is not grim. You are allowed to be angry. Sad. All of the things. Don’t ignore your own emotions or try to ‘fix’ them. They don’t need to be fixed. They just need to be felt.

Be a kind friend to yourself. Listen and allow yourself to cry. Slowly, the light starts to come in and you find your way out.

It is such a brave thing to meet your grief.

And just like I had to shed a mountain of grief before meeting my husband in order to start a new beautiful chapter, I know another one is on the other side of this miscarriage.

Though I am still writing this chapter of my story, it has already taught me so much about coming home to my body. Allowing it to heal from all the traumas and repairing my nervous system after decades of dysregulation. Allowing myself and my body to feel safe enough to feel. After years of dissociation and pain, this chapter has brought a deeper healing.

Wherever you are in your grief journey, take it slowly, one baby step at a time. Remember to be kind to yourself along the way. You can turn this grief, loss, and trauma into a new beginning.

This moment too shall pass. Like the others before it and the ones that will come after it.

We can’t control when these dark times come, but we can be brave enough to move through them by giving ourselves love and getting the right help for ourselves and our needs.

Be with it and it will pass much more quickly than it would otherwise and cause less damage to your beautiful life.

Healing has many seasons, and grief is like the winter, but spring soon comes with the buds of your new chapter.

About Manpreet Johal Bernie

Manpreet is the creator of the podcast Heart’s Happiness, where she talks about intergenerational trauma, and is also a coach who helps people make peace with their past and rewrite their story by learning how to love themselves and their inner child. Check out her FREE MASTERCLASS, Freedom from Anxiety, where she shares her proprietary technique to help with anxiety. Follow her on Instagram here.

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