Crafting to Cope: Find Your Own Way through Grief

This is the second in my series about grief, grieving, and helping people that are grieving. This one is for the people who are grieving. I am still in the early(ish) stages of this, but these are just my thoughts.

First of all if you have lost someone, or something, you are not alone.

Whether it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of an infant or pregnancy, the loss of a pet, a relationship, or anything, your loss is not less than anyone else's. What matters is what the loss means to you and how you feel about it. Don't listen to or worry about the people that try to compete with your loss, there should not be a competition in grief. The loss of a companion animal may hurt someone just as much a losing a parent, you are the one that decides how you feel, no one else can.

If you are experiencing grief, you may be here hoping to find answers to what you are experiencing, or how this process works, or maybe even about the stages of grief, sorry but I don't have any real answers, just some thoughts based on my personal experiences. First of which, is the stages of grief are crap, that explanation is not how it seems to be experienced by anyone, and I have no idea who decided to lump the emotions to categories and an order,
but its wrong.

Grief comes in so many forms, and can cause so many different reactions, that I don't think that there is a proper way to organize the experience of going through grief because it is so personal. The best thing that you can do is recognize how it is effecting you and have some ideas on how to cope with things as they come.

As I mentioned, I was told I had Post Traumatic Reaction Syndrome after I lost my mom. I experienced nightmares, anxiety, borderline panic attacks, along with sadness, crying spells and a multitude of other emotions that basically can't even be put into words. This has been my experience; my three siblings have had totally different ones. My older sister was initially just angry, and I mean like really angry, at what happened and what was going on. My younger brother became withdrawn. My younger sister was kind of all over, from angry to sad to anxious. We each experienced things differently, but none of us were dealing with it wrong, we just had to deal with it our own way. The funny thing is though we have all turned to a creative outlet to cope; again in our own unique ways.

Our Mom was extremely creative, and the motivation behind this blog and my Instagram (as mentioned in my "About me" post). Our mom did every craft you can imagine, except knit and pottery. Our mom did everything from sew, to wood work, painting wood to painting glass bottles, she made wreaths, and arranged flowers. One thing we always did as a group was woodcrafts, where we'd all get the same thing (ghost, pumpkin, flower, etc.) and finish them how we wanted.

And that is how we have coped with our loss, we each gravitated to certain crafts, I crochet and wood work, my older sister does string art and makes some of the coolest wreaths/door hangers I have ever seen; my little sister paints; and my younger brother paints and does some other random crafts. We use the creativity instilled in us by our mom to deal with her loss, and try our best to put some extra beauty in to the world. And now when we miss our mom and need some time together, we will plan a video chat craft night. Each of us will do our own type of craft, but we do it together, despite being in different cities and different time zones.

And that is my advice to you. Recognize how your grief is impacting you, recognize that it is not wrong, accept the emotions as they come, don't try to suppress it and find a healthy way to cope with it. Pick up a new hobby, or maybe renew your interest in an old hobby. Maybe find something that reminds you of good times with who you lost. Make time for yourself, but don't force it. Whatever you chose to do to help you through a time of loss should always be for enjoyment, it should never feel like a responsibility, a chore or something you check of a to do list.

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