Whether you have lost a child, a loved one to suicide or are struggling from any other loss or adversity, healing is a messy word. You either embrace it or hate it.
In this coaching episode, learn what's wrong with the term grief recovery and what it takes to heal in grief. Vonne shares some of the difficulties she faced in her early grief when thinking about healing and discusses the concept of self-responsibility. She also shares the 3 fundamental practices and 10 essential strategies she incorporated in her healing journey that can support you too, at every stage of your journey to heal after loss or any adversity that has knocked you to the ground.
0:22 Healing - embrace it or hate it
2:03 Spiritual Law & responsibility
3:11 How grief challenges us and what saved me
7:04 The most important support we need in grief
8:49 The problem with grief recovery
13:14 Confronting all of our pain
15:40 Healing from grief - what it takes
20:36 The 3 fundamentals of healing
23:11 10 grief support strategies
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Link to Soul Group Podcast episode
Vonne Solis 0:00
Welcome to another Grief Talk Coffee Chat episode. I'm your host, Vonne Solis.
Vonne Solis 0:13
Okay, so welcome to Divine Healing, Another coaching episode with Vonne Solis. I am, of course Vonne. So welcome.
Vonne Solis 0:22
This episode, we're going to actually talk about whether or not you can really heal from grief. Healing is a word that some people really embrace, or they really hate it. And in my early grief, I was part of the latter group. I actually could not stand the word healing. In my first three to, I'd say four years of grief, I could sort of toy around with the idea of healing, in my mind, but if anyone suggested the word to me, and would say something like, well, you can heal from this, or, you know, just mentioned the word healing, I would get really super defensive, and kind of shut down in that moment with them.
Vonne Solis 1:09
I could not comprehend the idea of healing from anything as horrendous as losing my child. And I had lost my daughter Janaya to suicide in 2005. And so it really took me, and it's normal if you're in this situation, it really, it took me a few years to really even be able to comprehend that I could heal. And I'm gonna get into this in a minute. There is a difference between, quote recovering from grief, which we are sort of pushed to do, and literally being able to heal your life from something that has been so devastating that it has rocked your world to the point you have lost faith and confidence in just about everything. So that's what we're going to be focusing on today.
Vonne Solis 2:03
So because of my background when my daughter died for nearly two and a half decades with a spiritual practice, I naturally was held to the idea that spiritual law teaches us that we are responsible for everything that happens in our life, both good and bad. And this can be sort of thought of as a soul contract. And I have done another episode on that and I'll put a link up below to that one if you're interested.
Vonne Solis 2:31
But central to this is also the understanding that we can attract all of the good that we want into our life, based on the lessons that we have gotten in our life, based on all the things, quote, unquote, all the things that happened to us in the bad parts of it. We don't really question the good and nor do we look for lessons in the good necessarily, although that would be kind of an awesome thing to do. So it's really based on the lessons that we have gotten and how willing we are to accept everything that has happened to us in our life, both good and bad, and take responsibility for it.
Vonne Solis 3:11
So if you're thinking about this, and either negating that is even possible, probable. You know, even if it doesn't make sense to you, here are four questions to ask yourself right now, if you would consider that maybe there is some truth to this. So number one, do you want to suffer? Number two? Do you want to change and prosper? Number three. Do you believe that you can truly create what you really want? And number four. Do you know what you really want?
Vonne Solis 3:43
So while all of the work that I do, which is really emotional based and practical tools for people in grief and you know, coming from other adversity, which obviously puts them in grief, is based on this concept of really, truly understanding what we want, and whether or not we actually have the power within us to create it. And grief actually challenges us over and over and over again, no matter how much you adopt this practice into your life and work with your mindset, there are going to be things that come up in grief over and over and over again, that will challenge our ability to have this confidence. To feel this inner power that we know that we have. But things rock us. They they basically send us flying flat on the ground. So it's really, really important that we have the discipline and the tools to get ourselves back into the mindset that is so important to have to create change. Which I'm also going to be talking a little bit more about further along in this episode.
Vonne Solis 4:56
So expanding a little bit on that point is one of the hardest things that I had to do, despite my two and a half decades, you know, relying on that practice that I just explained. You know, knowing what I wanted. Understanding I had the power to create it. Manifesting in my life, right? So one of the hardest things that challenged me in the first few years, I'd say three to four after Janaya died, was one, whether I would ever even have the willpower to get myself out of the horrible mess I felt that I was in. And number two, what could ever give me the hope and inspiration that things could improve in any area of my life. My world felt dreary, dark and lonely. No question about that. I cried for days and weeks and months. And on and off, even for the first several years. My body was wracked with pain. I couldn't trust that the ground beneath me could carry me. It was just plain misery.
Vonne Solis 6:08
So in looking back, I know now that the one thing that absolutely kept me going was that my belief in all things spiritual that were challenging me at the time, were the very same things that were going to get me out of my misery. But I would have to steer my boat, though sometimes I needed to and did hand it over to God and the angels.
Vonne Solis 6:34
At the time, I had developed an angel healing practice that I'm not going to be talking about today. But they were instrumental, my spiritual foundation, my belief in the Divine. Basically, even my Christian upbringing, but expanded to a spiritual practice, and then becoming an angel healing practitioner, these are the things that saved me, and got me through the worst of my suffering in the first several years after losing Janaya.
Vonne Solis 7:04
So one of the most important types of support that we need, no matter what our beliefs are, no matter what our foundation is, when we are in grief, and, you know, trauma, and you know, just experiencing really, really awful things in our life, is the hope, and the inspiration and proof even that we can find our way out of the darkness. But back in 2005, I couldn't find any books or other type of support that gave me the hope, or the inspiration, or even the proof that I was desperate for. All I heard and read was that things were going to be different. And this scared me even more, because I couldn't imagine what different meant for me or my family.
Vonne Solis 7:54
The other pressure I felt was that everything I did come across in terms of books, and not so much the support group I was going to, which was The Compassionate Friends, which is for bereaved parents. But mostly the, my guess it was the books back then because we really didn't have much of an online presence, was that they all pointed to recovering from grief in what I felt was a very superficial way. And they were completely missing the things that are still missing today in just about everyone's grief journey. Such as, how do you recover from child loss, trauma, suicide, using perhaps a process. A plan. Specific steps. And in a way that makes sense to those of us that have gone through extremely traumatic losses.
Vonne Solis 8:49
So I've always negated right from the beginning and almost intuitively, the idea that we could recover from our grief. That never felt right to me. And while I certainly didn't have the years behind me, to be able to really think about this, and have almost even an objective viewpoint on it based on my experience, and what had, you know, happened to me in my grief over the years, I stand by it today. That I think the words Grief Recovery are superficial. Not well understood. Often misplaced and espoused by people who shouldn't be talking about Grief Recovery.
Vonne Solis 9:33
I believe that recovering from grief, if we want to embrace that term. If we want to take that on which as I said earlier, is different from healing. And it's kind of hard to explain because you sort of have to live it and you have to be able to contemplate and digest and decide ultimately what the terms grief, recovery and healing mean to you. And once you feel that for yourself and how you want to incorporate that into your life, it becomes a multi-layered process and practice, if you will, based on a whole bunch of factors in your life, including your relationship to the person you lost. And losing different people in different ways creates different types of responses, and even reactions to what you feel comfortable with when thinking about grief, recovery and healing.
Vonne Solis 10:36
So very quickly, I believe in holistic healing. That's what I have wanted for my life. I'm working on that. I've been working on it for many, many years now. Making huge strides and very comfortable with where I am. But there are still pieces I'm working on for me. And in my personal intention of how I want to live my life, there are still things that I need to be working on and want to be working on. And as I become more enlightened about what these are, and how I want to feel, and what I want to experience at this stage in my life, it makes that process and practice more obvious for me, and more doable for me in a really practical way. But you know, I've had a few years to develop the mindset, the tools, and putting things in place, so that I can pick and choose what I want to do in my life today. However, that doesn't mean, I can't remember what it was like when I didn't have this privilege.
Vonne Solis 11:39
What I will say and that stands true today, as it did many, many years ago, although maybe I couldn't put it in these same words earlier, is that there is this feeling, at least for me and others I've talked to, that recovering from grief feels like a trade-off. It makes it feel like an exchange for our happiness in terms of the idea that we make our loved one's death and life even, seem like it never happened. And it was the information I was reading and even maybe the way I was digesting it and understanding it that I felt this. But today, it still feels to me like when people talk about Grief Recovery, it's just another way to silence us.
Vonne Solis 12:30
So I never wanted my daughter's life and death to be a dirty little secret. That I was forced to be quiet about. Never talk about her. Never talk about her suicide. And it still holds true today that for most of us, if not all of us who have lost a child or a loved one to suicide, or some other horrible manner of death that is taboo or creates a decidedly discomfort in our culture, we do feel that we have to stay quiet about our loss. Not talk about our loved one. Never say their name. Never talk about our experience. Never share our story. And basically suffer in our grief, isolated, and in silence.
Vonne Solis 13:14
Ultimately, and trying a number of things that worked. Didn't work over the years for me, I came to understand a few years ago now that it was really necessary to confront all of my emotions. Deep-seated pain. And understand what was going on in my body and my mind and in my emotional state and my spiritual state, to respect and honour that pain, equally alongside honouring and respecting that my daughter's death. Her suicide, was very real. And was not something I should feel forced to be quiet about. Or take that upon myself to feel that I could never talk about that again.
Vonne Solis 14:15
So I actually teach and advocate that all of us in our grief need to confront all of our emotional, spiritual, mental, physical pain head on, while still honouring our loved one and their choice to leave us in any way that they have left us, as central to our life in bereavement. Because it happened. We cannot and we must not feel pressured in any way to make it seem like it didn't. By trying to tuck it, the experience. The bereavement itself into any corner of our mind or by trying to forget about it altogether. Which people do.
Vonne Solis 15:01
It's important to honour when we feel sad, angry, frustrated, depressed, miserable, scared, resentful. In pain with a capital P. And some days, we may like feeling this way. And it's important to honour that too. Other days, we may want to consider that we could make it all go away and have a better life if we were to choose something different. If we were to choose healing with a capital H, but only when and if we want to.
Vonne Solis 15:40
If we look at healing as possible in our grief, then it is possible that perhaps one day we can heal from our grief. It's totally up to us. Not withstanding any medical issues we may have associated with our bereavement. Our grief. Our trauma. Such as PTSD, Prolonged Grief Disorder, or any other medical or emotional or mental condition that has been a result of our experience, and that we cannot control. It actually ties us to our pain. But even then, something to consider is whether we can allow ourselves and have the power within us to heal from those types of afflictions, too. And I live with PTSD and Prolonged Grief Disorder. So I'm not saying this lightly. I think about this actually quite a lot.
Vonne Solis 16:38
On the flip side, and I'm 18 years into this, I know for certain that in my life and the lives of all my loved ones, we live with the belief that we can create what we want. And we all have evidence to support this. Despite the grief, trauma and everything else that has happened in the 18 years since Janaya left us, we are all doing well. We all have been very successful in choosing what we want to create in our lives. So I for one will never doubt the power of manifesting and the universal laws that govern it. How can I? I have proof that they work. The Law of Attraction is as predictable as the ocean's tide. And I propose that what matters most in any type of recovery or healing is our mindset. So when it comes to healing from grief, this is no different. Although I will offer that healing is not an overnight fix. It is a long process that requires discipline and dedication to a certain type of practice in in our life.
Vonne Solis 17:50
So having the means to heal from anything comes from our understanding of what is going on within us at the deepest levels, such as I mentioned at the beginning of this episode. Because many, if not all of our physical symptoms, do come from our emotional and mental state. The question might be a little bit like the chicken and the egg. Which comes first? I don't know. But science is even proven that our mental and emotional well-being does definitely have an effect on our physical state. And I have felt this and experienced this so much over the now nearly two decades I've had in my grief that I will never argue with that. There is absolute proof that how we are thinking absolutely affects what we are able to do physically and what can even happen to our physical body. Think stress, folks.
Vonne Solis 18:47
So it's really critical that becoming aware of what you are struggling with. What you even are happy about. Content with. What's working in your life and why. What is motivating you or not motivating you to feel a little bit better in your daily life. This is all healing. Because healing is a process. It is not the end goal.
Vonne Solis 19:14
As I have traveled this road, I have discovered many things. Not least that pain runs deep and is full of surprises. It can still knock me, not quite to the ground, but close to it, today. The difference is today, I have the ability to get myself out of anything that's threatening to take me down very quickly. Equal to the choice I want to make to just be with that pain and feel it and and let it run its course through me, understanding that it will subside. And it will for you too. However it takes effort and commitment to even just want to choose to feel better. But once you are aware of the power you have to make this choice. How you want to feel. How you want to be, the healing path will always beckon you to follow it. I can guarantee you that. As good things happen for you and the better you feel, the more you will attract these types of situations and this type of feeling into your life. Admittedly, there will be good days, and there will be bad days. There will be successes and total wipeouts. But this is all part of the process and embracing your life as it is today.
Vonne Solis 20:36
I suggest that healing is based on three important fundamentals. One, that knowledge brings wisdom. Two, that wisdom brings personal power. And three, that personal power is what motivates us to create change. Additionally, and we do need tools, and we do need some strategies to help us in the times that are tough. And certainly when you're looking at long-term grief, and here's what I want you to remember. Okay, so I'm 18 years in this, but I can still remember going back to my earliest weeks, days, if you really want to think about it. Days, weeks, months, and then the first years. And then oh, my gosh, I got to 10. And then 15. And you know, and there was a point, and it seriously was around 10 years. And I had read this in books for people that you know, are in really difficult grief that you know, especially with child loss, that 10 years was sort of this pivotal moment that you kind of realize this is a forever thing. Like you know that before, but it's like now you really get it. And so one of the biggest challenges in this period, and for me, I found it kind of between 10, 15, 16 years, was like, and even thinking about it now just kind of exhausts me mentally and emotionally. But like this, this is a real deal. This is a forever thing. So that can be a little bit challenging. And we do need strategies to help comfort us and remind us that this grief process, for however long it lasts for you. And it lasts as long for you and me until we can heal from it. Which is our choice. Not withstanding the things I mentioned. Medical stuff and all that.
Vonne Solis 22:28
But anyway, until we are no longer in an experience of feeling grief. And yes, I'm going to say right now, for me as a bereaved parent, mmm. I have my reservations that I'm ever going to completely heal from the grief itself. And maybe I don't even want to, I'll be honest and open about that. Maybe I need that little connection to my pain. But in the meantime, I want to feel hope. I want to feel inspiration. I want to trust that I can still have a great life and be present for my other loved ones and for myself, so that this life isn't wasted.
Vonne Solis 23:11
So here are 10 strategies that can help you from the get go, wherever you are in your grief and starting today to consider, being more mindful and loving, forgiving, and compassionate with yourself. Number one, don't compare your journey to anyone else's. Number two, what you can't do today, leave for tomorrow. Number three, never put pressure on yourself. Number four, don't try to be someone you aren't. Number five, never allow yourself to become a victim to your circumstances. Even if you don't want to admit this to anybody else mentally, don't let it happen for yourself. Number six, take responsibility for your life. Number seven, surround yourself with positive people and environments that feel nurturing, as much as possible. And if you're stuck in environments, and you know right now and with people who don't meet this criteria, just be aware that that is the goal. you're striving for. The intention with which you want to live. And you will make it happen one day. Incorporate it into your life in the stages that you can. Number eight, eliminate stress as quickly as possible for yourself. Make a commitment to do that. Number nine, don't take no for an answer. There is a solution for every problem or challenge that you don't think you can find a way out of. And number ten, be diligent about practicing self-care.
Vonne Solis 24:46
Now I'm not going to talk about self-care today. I'm going to reserve that for an upcoming episode. But it's really really important and you might be surprised at how many people in grief do not consider self-care or would not incorporate into their life for a whole bunch of different reasons. So I'm going to be talking about that in an upcoming episode. Above all, love you and take care of yourself.
Vonne Solis 25:12
I hope this episode leaves you feeling a little bit better. Until next time, thanks for watching. Thanks for listening.