A long-time friend passed away this week.

While his passing was not unexpected; his absence leaves a hole in many lives that feels vast and expansive. His passing reminds me of the things we can do to stay present in the earliest days of grief. Now is a time for great compassion and gentleness.

There are many ways to honor immediate grief. Attending services celebrating the life of a loved one; taking time off from work; doing things with others that remind you of the person who has passed, sharing pictures and finding times for stillness come to mind.

Now is a time to set aside decision making except for the most immediate needs. Decisions, choices and opportunities will reveal themselves in the future, when the time is right. Trust your own inner wisdom as a guide for your present needs.

While it can be hard, almost counterintuitive, to be still in the present moment – you are setting the stage for the gentleness and self-care you will need for the journey ahead. Make no mistake; your loss has changed you. It will change the trajectory of your future. But at this time, as your grief journey begins you can give yourself the deepest kinds of care to sustain you.

Here are some ways to support yourself:

  1. Breathe. It may feel as if you have been holding your breath since you learned of your loved one’s passing. Stop what you are doing. Take a deep breath filling your lungs. Slowly exhale. Concentrate on your breath until you are breathing evenly.
  2. Ask for help. Request that someone else answer the phone for a while or simply turn off the ringer. Give those who want to help an opportunity to do just that; ask someone to do the dishes, prepare a meal, change the sheets or run a load of laundry. Take in the care of others.
  3. Allow your tears to flow. Crying helps us move the energy of loss through the body; it releases built up tension, defuses toxins that come with grief and is the most natural way to let off the “steam” of your pain about this loss.

What has sustained you in times of immediate grief? Offer your suggestions for other gentleness practices.

Peace be with you,

Deb Buehler

I welcome your comments