“It goes on” – I first heard this watching Afterlife by Ricky Gervais, I remember it really struck a chord with me. It is a quote from Robert Frost when speaking about life.
On a personal level this past year has been one of the most challenging yet formative, not only are we living through a pandemic, which like many people impacted my business and life in general, I am grieving, grieving the loss of the family patriarch. I lost my father Joe suddenly in May 2020, he had just turned 61. Due to lockdown restrictions, I was in Dublin, my family in Clare – so the last time I saw him in the physical form was February 2020. This was the longest time I had ever gone without seeing him or any of my family for that matter.
However strangely due to COVID I felt more connected with my dad than I had in quite some time. The distance and slower pace of life gave me an opportunity to reflect. I found myself making more of an effort to check in with him, and express to him how grateful I was for everything. I take peace in knowing that he knew how I felt, and I know how proud he was of me and fully supported the direction I was going with my life.
Grief is not one size fits all, everybody’s experience is unique and just as valid as the next. I have found that my personal experience has deepened my sense of gratitude for life and just how precious our time here is. Each morning when we wake, we have a choice as to how we wish to expend our energy.
There are days when getting out of bed is not an option and I just want to cocoon, other mornings I want nothing more than to jump out of bed and into the Irish Sea or Atlantic to seek that natural high. There are times when I want to be surrounded by friends and family. I am getting better at paying attention to how I am feeling in that moment and really feeling it rather than shutting it down.
Self-compassion and self-care are areas I continue to learn about and put into practice. Small little rituals such as my morning cacao, swim, journaling, listening to music, admiring the beautiful moon help me cope with my grief. And of course, connecting with people helps, talking helps. It is more challenging at the moment to physically meet people and we are all a little fatigued by the Zoom Calls, but it is still very possible to reach out and connect.