Last week, a family friend passed away. It was sudden and unexpected. The shock wave is still rippling through my little community. Each person I connect with that knew our friend seems to be in a different stage of grief.
According to Dr. Kubler-Ross, there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I spliced the bargaining stage with the depression stage for the mind-numbing stupidity stage.
Instead of making deal with the Almighty, I have made deals with my subconscious. When I begin to get lost in thought about Death’s recent claim, I just zone out. I can still walk about, cook dinner and even drive in this stage. My eyes go blank, my actions slow, and I am told that my face takes on a odd, mask-like characteristic. It’s a little eerie.
This is not a productive stage physically or emotionally. It is better to just skip into outright depression so that I can coast into acceptance. Since I have had a increasing familiarity with Death, I have learned a few tricks for getting past this stage.
Grief is an important process. It’s how the soul rebuilds it’s house after a fire. The stupidity stage is akin to rearranging charred furniture in an ash pile. I need my botanical friends to get me through the delusions of grief.
St. John’s Wort is a perfect herb for the grieving. It is best combined with physical, outdoor work. St. John’s Wort not only helps soften pain but it increases light sensitivity which allows the body to absorb more Vitamin D. This is the vitamin that holds the key to healing after loss. Physical work helps both keep the mind off the pain and conversely helps the griever work through the problems that caused the pain.
Lemon Balm is good supplement to keep the mind at peace. It is commonly called the “Happy Herb”. It also has powerful antiviral properties that specifically fight the herpes virus. Herpes outbreaks are common during grief for those with the virus. Lemon Balm keeps the viruses from adding insult to injury.
Nettle is my all time favorite herb. Most people associate it with allergies not grief but my experience is that after loss, food turns to ash in my mouth. Although I could stand to lose a few pounds, my body still needs good nutrition to keep thinking clearly. One thing that you learn at funerals of even the most isolated companions, is that every one has people that rely on them. My family and friends need me. I have to stay sharp. A daily dose of nutritious nettle keeps those mental wanderings into the land of stupid to a bare minimal.
These three herbs together with exercise, regular social contacts, and a balanced diet have been the best friends my sad little soul has. It won’t bring my lost friends back but it does help me to remember to celebrate life with those that I still have.
“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” – Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross