Processing grief with Mindfulness

A personal journey in studying Mindfulness and how it helped process my grief.

Go to the profile of Gail Donnan
Dec 29, 2017
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Over six years ago my close friend who was terminally ill called me.  At the time I was making a bag for her to carry her morphine drip in. The conversation was short, she asked me if I could come to see her that day at the hospice as by "tomorrow" she wouldn't be around. I never finished the bag, I made sure my Daughter was looked after and drove to the hospice.

After a couple of hours of laughter, chatting and putting on a brave face, I kissed my close friend on the head, smelling her freshly washed hair; knowing it would be the last time I saw her.  She passed away the next morning, she knew her time was ending. Andrea was in her early thirties and left a husband and six year old son behind.

In life she taught me so much, how to be a real friend, how to use a sewing machine again and to use my creative side.  We had a special book club of our own, she taught me how to not be afraid, personal boundaries, self respect, how to tackle Motherhood and how to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.  

I didn't cope very well for a few years after her death and eventually with work pressure and some financial problems I had a breakdown.  I took time off work and decided to examine my life.  I sought solace in Meditation and then decided re-train to help others, I studied to be a Meditation Teacher and then went on to qualify as a Mindfulness Practitioner.

During my Mindfulness qualification, I had to examine a difficult subject in my life.  I chose Andrea's death.  Mindfulness teaches you to just sit with a situation and identify where you feel it in the body and allow yourself to name the emotions living inside of you. This is what is known as moving from head to heart and removing the ego which is a source of great problems for some. I felt a heaviness in my chest/heart space and the emotion came thick and fast.  It was anger. As soon as I identified it, tears poured from my eyes. I was angry because I couldn't save her, I couldn't put it right and I'd lost a soul sister. This was an enlightening moment for me in processing my grief. 

Years later, with this hindsight I went on to open a Well-being Training Centre and Studios and I re-count this powerful story to clients who I treat one to one, to candidates that attend my workshops or courses, I have taught my Daughter how to do it, I am passionate about teaching children how to do it in schools and anyone who will sit long enough to listen!

This Mindfulness technique helped me enormously to process my grief and all the emotions that were sitting inside of me in a healthy way and I am passionate about passing this on. I do this on a regular basis now about anything that unsettles me.  It removes the ego and just allows you to at that moment to see where it is in the body and what emotion is carries.  Once the emotion is identified it can be processed.  It stops knee jerk reactions and allows you continue your day in a calm manner. It is a very powerful tool.

Goodnight and God bless Andrea.


Go to the profile of Gail Donnan

Gail Donnan

Owner and Author, The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company

I have been working in the holistic/well-being industry since 1995. In this time I have trained as a traditional counsellor, holistic therapist, Mindfulness Practitioner, a Teacher in Further Education, Meditation Teacher, Qi Gong Instructor, Reiki Master Teacher Practitioner and life coach. I have spent ten years teaching others and own The Mindfulspace Wellbeing Company in Ripon, North Yorkshire which is an accredited training centre in wellbeing modalties. I have written a self-development book, offer workshops, Retreats and a study program to help people inspire change in their lives. I specialise in mental health issues, anxiety, depression and inspiring others to make life and career changes towards the well-being industry. I am a published Author of "The Gateway - A journey to re-claim your power from Stress and Anxiety".

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