Sunday, 12 November 2017

Applying S.A.R.A.H. to my grief

To develop a better understanding of how I have dealt with the grief I have been going through over the last 9 months since my wife died, I have used the S.A.R.A.H. grief cycle model.

  • Shock - it was a terrible shock to lose my darling Jan to sepsis brought on by the cancer that had only been detected 6 weeks earlier. She had become poorly over the weekend and at my insistence I managed to get her back into the Royal Surrey Hospital. I left her at 2:00 am and she was tired but OK and she said she would let me know which ward they moved her to. The next morning they summoned me back to the hospital to inform me that she wouldn’t live through the day, she was in a bad state and didn’t even recognise me. We gave the go ahead for palliative care and after injections she calmed down and then slowly passed away. I was at her bedside together with my daughter and son when she quietly left the world and we were devastated!
  • Anger - I went through a period of being angry that no one had warned me about sepsis, and why had this happened to the love of my life. I was angry with myself for not being able to save her, all completely irrational but at this stage I was driven by emotion.
  • Resistance - it was so difficult to get my head round the reality of my situation. It had been so sudden, so hard to comprehend and I kept sensing her presence all around me, half expecting her, in my muddled state, to suddenly appear.
  • Acceptance - finally after lots of loving support and help from my GP I was able to apply self compassion to myself and accept there was nothing I could have done to save her. She was just too sick to have survived sepsis and for her a sudden death was the best outcome rather enduring months of fruitless devastating chemo treatment.
  • Healing, Hope and Happiness - doing an 8 week mindfulness course was a real life saver, as it helped me to heal. Great friendships, loving family, exercise and photography and travel all gave we hope for a new life in which I was happy again. Here the Action for Happiness programme helped me to apply a structured approach to my healing, hope and happiness.
I am in a good place now, I still have sad moments and days, but my happy days far exceed the bad ones. They say time is a great healer and while I don’t disagree I feel that you need to get help and take a proactive approach to restore your happiness. 

I know speaking to others who have experienced loss of some sort and it could be the breakdown of your marriage. As simple as this model is, you cannot move forward until you have reached ACCEPTANCE! Once you have got past that stumbling point, with the right support you can transform your life, reinvent / reformulate and come out stronger. Psychologists identify what they call PTG, or Post Traumatic Growth and when it happens it brings about positive transformation in people lives.

NOTE: Vanessa King’s superb book 10 Keys to Happier Living is a must buy to help you with your recovery!

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