The last few years for me have been marked by loss – loss of grandparent, parent and two much loved pets. This only ratcheted up my drinking as I tried to avoid the necessary but difficult grieving process. Since I’ve stopped drinking the grief has been resurfacing along with all the other emotions that have laid dormant and been deliberately drowned by booze. As part of my trying to ease this journey through grief I’ve been reading a great book by SARK called ‘Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change into Gift and Opportunity’ which has been really helpful.
In her book she talks about giving yourself self-hugs as a way of being compassionate and kind to yourself and this triggered a deeply buried memory. Growing up, our house wasn’t a warm, loving affectionate place where you would be given a hug. It just wasn’t done and so as a child I used to give myself hugs to try and make myself feel better and less alone. Now I’m not sharing this to elicit some virtual violin concerto of sympathy but as a painfully sad and simple fact.
But you know what when I was a kid it used to work. In that moment I felt comforted even if I had to close my eyes and imagine it was someone else giving the hug to me. Belle often signs off her emails with ‘hugs me’ so now if I’m struggling, and my hubby and kids aren’t around to hug me or for me to hug them, I have returned to using this gift to myself and I just imagine it is Belle.
Without her I wouldn’t be here at day 99 🙂