Grateful for Grief

Maree’s daughter finishes school and the tears fall.

MAREE LipschitzMaree Lipschitz  

My daughter finished the HSC last month. Finished school for EVER. And I can’t stop crying.

It’s been so surprising this grief. I thought I went through this transition last year when she went to France for seven weeks on exchange. I remember hugging her goodbye at the airport knowing that things were irrevocably changing between us – some magic line had been crossed. She was on her own now (well for seven weeks she was then …).

Now I cannot stop the tears falling as I think of her going out into the world. Sure, there’s excitement as well – but I cannot feel that yet. I need to grieve the little girl who’s now grown up. Making her own decisions and her own plans, whether I like them or not. I wish I could bundle her up in cotton wool and stop her getting whatever bad stuff life has in store for her – the broken heart, the terrible boss, the judgements of others, her own grief-filled times.

But I can’t – and I shouldn’t. Because I’ve learnt (though it’s taken me a long time) that grief is a great teacher and a master healer. Most of our culture doesn’t want to see or hear about grief. It’s too strong an emotion. It’s too loud. It’s too vulnerable. It’s too much of something. It should be not seen nor heard – and it should go away quickly. We should stuff it down – somewhere.

But what I’ve learnt is that it’s good to allow grief to be in me.

To let it move me while my life feels ruptured around me. To let it sit in my belly while I breathe through it. To sob when I don’t even know why I’m crying. To run or walk or dance with the force of the tears threatening to take me over. If I can let it move through me in the form of tears, sound and movement – running, dancing, moaning, singing – then I know it will be transformed and healed.

This I know may take some time – days, weeks, months perhaps – and take more tears, more sound, more movement. But eventually the rupture will be healed and the grief will become something else – a doorway to another way of being, with more strength and possibilities than I ever had before.

So I dance with my grief – both figuratively and literally.

Maree Emily smallAnd I wish my daughter love and blessings and a shoulder to cry on when she needs to.

For there are many times of grief in our lives – and three important ones for women that are often not mentioned or discussed. Ones where I see women are transforming and are scared of the change. We forget that there can be real fear before we transform – once we are through the change, we often forget or the grief and fear can be diminished.

Change Number 1 – Puberty.  Many young girls are frightened of their changing bodies. They don’t want to know what’s going to happen. They know what it’s like to be a little girl and they don’t want to change that. Many have grief about growing up and taking on more responsibility and feel very vulnerable. Particularly so under the predatory gaze of our youth-obsessed culture, which can prey on their vibrant, emerging sexuality and sensuality. The girls don’t know how to deal with all this strong energy being directed at them and want to stay invisible and protected. Can you blame them?

Change Number 2 – Childbirth. I know that I wasn’t just scared of birthing a baby  – though that was pretty scary at the time! I was also scared and grieving about losing myself as a woman ‘wholly unto myself’. Yes, I was married, but I still could walk out of the house without too much other than myself to worry about. Wow – was that ever going to change! It wasn’t just about my changing body – though I had some grief around that too. And no I didn’t bounce back ‘post baby’ for at least a year!  There is so much pressure on women today to look ‘hot’ again ASAP after birth – just when they’re dealing with a newborn and their changing identity and all that that brings. I experienced a huge amount of grief at this time as I know many new Mums do – all the while feeling like I had to smile because I had this beautiful baby!

Change Number 3 – Perimenopause/Menopause. My latest journey of grief around my ageing body. It can’t quite do what it used to, won’t process food like it used to, doesn’t want to let me sleep like I could before! I’m still at the tail end of it – and I’ve learnt lots of great ways to deal with it. I know it will pass eventually and there is a whole new stage to enjoy and celebrate on the other side! So I’m letting myself have my grieving moments when they arise.

All part of the normal birth-death-rebirth cycle – The Circle of Life. We just need to let ourselves be wherever we are and know that it’s all OK and everything’s just perfect. Even to cry sometimes …

Maree Lipschitz – Women’s Rites
Maree is the The Puberty, Motherhood and Menopause Mentor who guides women through the feminine transitions in life.  She is the mother of two lovely kids and speaks and writes about female rites of passage and how to connect more deeply with the Sacred Feminine.  She also loves singing, beach walking, reading great novels and concocting fabulous meals out of leftovers in the fridge. Maree can be contacted at www.themidlifemidwife.com .
Life Balance = Meditate. Walk. Laugh with kids.

Maree’s 2014 workshop dates are:

Feel Fabulous, Frisky, Feisty and Focussed 40+  – Sat 1st March
A one day event for women 35-65 to enhance your pleasure, maximise your productivity and reduce your anxiety.
Sat 1st March 2014, 10am-5pm, Eastern Suburbs, Sydney, Australia – make a diary date now!

Red Tent Evening Fri 7th Feb Bondi 7pm-9pm
Come learn the ‘Break the Chain’ flashmob dance just for fun or ready for action on V-Day on 14 Feb
7pm-9pm Bondi, NSW Australia

Let’s Talk Growing Up 9-12yo Girls & Mums Coogee, NSW, Australia  22-23 Mar 10am-4pm
A beautiful mother-daughter weekend to celebrate her changing body and deepen your relationship.

Pathways into Womanhood 13-15yo Girls & Mums Kangaroo Valley, NSW, Australia 22-26 April and 23-27 Sept
A 5 day ‘rite of passage’ program in beautiful Kangaroo Valley to acknowledge her transition into a young woman.

A Personal Wisdom Session (phone or F2F)
A process to help you with any challenges in your life. Call +61 417 428 007 or email maree@themidlifemidwife.com

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