UNPACKING GRIEF & CHILDHOOD TRAUMAJun 02, 2023
How do we learn to live with grief? How do we overcome it? Could we be living with grief without even knowing it, and what are the appropriate steps necessary to mourn the things that we have lost?
In this Episode of Under the Rug, I open up about my earliest experience with grief. I was just three years of age when my older brother passed away and his death shook my world.
Childhood trauma along with grief in general is complex and strikes us all differently.
My hope is that as we unpack this deep topic, it will bring relief, comfort as well as practical strategies for when grief comes knocking on your or a loved-one’s door. Nx
Those early days
The photo above is of my brother Ashok and I. He was my best friend and we loved that wheelbarrow. Come to think of it, I’ve always had a thing for wheelbarrows. I remember sitting in one as a kid and being carted around the garden at break-neck speed thinking it was the best thing ever.
Growing up in Africa meant wandering around shoe-less, playing with anything and everything that lay around in the garden that literally held no monetary value. A piece of wire would be turned into a little car. Stones and twigs were our balls and spears and any little critters that dared to come out of hiding, like centipedes, crickets and ants, would be tormented when parents' eyes weren’t looming.
Life was simple and one would play for hours till Mom’s voice would bellow, calling us in for dinner.
Then one day, my brother and best friend was gone.
The impact of a sudden loss
After my brother passed away, I felt a deep sense of loneliness. This is my most prominent recollection. At the time, I couldn’t understand what it meant that he was never coming back so I would wait for him. I’d often look out of my bedroom window wondering when he would return.
It might take many forms, but having experienced trauma at a young age, I can say in full confidence now in my older years, that children do grieve, and that they experience the weight of grief in much the same way us adults do. We must be careful as adults that we don’t become so consumed in our own grief that we lose sight of this fact. My parents have both shared over the years that having me forced them to get back up after the loss of my brother. I remember asking my Mom once, ‘How did you recover from the loss of your boy?’ She responded, ‘I had to recover for you.’
I believe that losing a child is the most horrific form of loss that one can ever experience. If this is you, I am so sorry for what you have been through. I’ve always felt that the depth of grief my parents endured far outweighed the grief I ever experienced and carried.
Maybe you’re reading this and you’re trapped in grief. Then my challenge to you is this:
Do not allow grief to swallow you up where you end up living like a shadow of your former self.
Sometimes in the aftermath of loss, all you see in front of you is the one who’s no longer there. The same applies to all kinds of loss. The break-up of a relationship, the loss of a home, a job, a lifestyle, a community, one’s health and so on.
In order to ease the grief and get back up, it’s important to shift your attention from who or what is no longer present, to who or what is actually in front of you. Just like my parents did.
It’s time to leave the land of the dead and live in the land of the living. You have people in your life right now who love you and those you’ve lost would want you to get back up and truly live.
Maybe for you, what is actually in front of you is a close friend, a roof over your head thanks to a loved-one who’s taken you in. Or maybe it’s simply a blank canvas of what tomorrow could look like.
Take time out to listen to the podcast ‘Unpacking Grief & Childhood Trauma.’
My 'Top 3 Lessons Learned' through my own experiences with grief:
- Grief is designed to help you come to terms with a new reality. It is not designed for you to set up camp there. Do you ever fully recover from the death of a loved one? No, I don’t believe you do. However each day does get easier and you do learn to adjust over time. Be kind to yourself in the process and figure out what stands ahead of you that brings purpose, peace, joy and fulfillment. Playing piano helped to pull me out of my grief as a little girl. The subsequent births of my baby brother and sister added to my healing.
- In the case of the death of a loved one, know that they would never want you living your life trapped in a state of grief. Of course there is a time to mourn. But there is also a time to dust off the dirt, get back up and live again. There will be the anniversaries and the birthdays, where the sting of death is more present, but this leads me to:
- Smile and remember the good times. For me, it’s the wheelbarrow moments. The giggling and chuckling, the getting up to mischief and playing hide and seek. Feeding Black Cat green beans under the dinner table, thinking that Mom had no idea.
The human heart is more resilient than we realize. It’s the mind that needs taming. If you have been weighed down by grief and you know that it’s time to set mourning aside, I encourage you to take a deep breath in, close your eyes, and as you exhale, let it all go. You may cry, you may even laugh, you may just feel enveloped in peace that surpasses your natural understanding.
Now say out loud:
‘My mourning has come to an end. Whilst I may never forget, I choose to live in the land of the living.’
Be sure to check out Nalini’s interview with her Mom, Mary Jalalabadi, on ‘Navigating Grief’ where you hear from the perspective of a mother having lost a child.
For all the ladies:
Being trapped in grief can have a knock-on effect on one’s identity. Nalini’s Transformational Program ‘Negative to Positive Self Belief’ has helped to pull countless women out of grief. Click here and sign up today. Join a collective of other women who are already on the road to their own healing.
Get 20% OFF by inputting the following Coupon:
If you have been impacted by anything discussed in this series, please seek help. Do not face it alone.
For crisis support or suicide prevention:
AUS - Lifeline 13 11 14
UK - National Suicide Prevention Helpline 0800 689 5652
USA - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
For More Info, visit nalinitranquim.com
Produced and hosted by Tyrian Green
Brought to you by Face As Flint Publishing
Copyright 2023 - All Rights Reserved
Be a part of Nalini’s VIP Mailing List for exclusive goodies, news updates and personal words of encouragement to spur you on in your journey.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
I hate SPAM. I will never sell your information, for any reason.