10 Things about Focusing: FIVE – GRIEVING

Monica pink rose bushIt can help you grieve.

I lost someone I loved very much back in 2013, and it completely knocked the stuffing out of me. My beloved ‘aunt’ Monica had lived with my husband and me until she got cancer and died 18 months later. The pain of her loss was unbelievable, and I can still feel it keenly now. Back in 2015 I was with my counselling supervisor and was talking about the dreadful feelings of regret I had about things I’d done or not done in the last months of her life. She invited me to Focus on what I was feeling inside, to stay with that uncomfortable feeling of grieving, instead of what I had been doing – getting away from it in busy-ness.

As I Focused inwardly, trying to just be with that feeling instead of turning away from it, I suddenly had an image that I was standing on broken glass: it was so vivid I could almost feel it crunching under my feet. I looked down and saw with surprise that it was thin panes of glass all jumbled together on top of one another. That made no sense, but slowly I realised I was standing in the ruins of a greenhouse. My tears flowed freely at this, because my aunt loved gardening, and had been our ‘head gardener’ with us at our house. Here was a greenhouse in ruins: what better picture of the desolation I felt?

But then, as if in a little prompt, something in me said, ‘But a greenhouse can be rebuilt’. Something about that just settled within me. Still in this Focusing session, inside my inner being, with my eyes still shut, I looked up and saw through the broken frame of the  greenhouse a dilapidated walled garden, and I knew it was waiting for me to work on it. Monica cannot be brought back. But a greenhouse can be rebuilt, and a garden can be regrown.

I called it my ‘garden of regrets’. Every one of my painful regrets about Monica has found a place in this garden, and has been transformed. That incident with the perfume is represented at the centre of the garden by the most beautifully-scented roses; the regret about Christmas is represented by a tall, stately Noble Fir tree planted in the far left corner, and two variegate standard holly trees; the tears she was unable to shed and those which I shed for her are there in the weeping willow tree, and the little stream winding around its feet feeds into the orangery where there are now strange exotic and beautiful plants I have never seen before, which I have certainly not planted myself. In my garden of remembrance, Monica comes from time to time, and I’ve sometimes seen her there. I take it she has brought them here.  MonPolytunnelThere is a lovely summer house constructed out of branches with a spirit urn for cups of tea, and an apron of decking surrounded by flowers. When I want to I can go and sometimes I can sit and talk to her there; other times I sit alone.  By a swing seat there is a statue of St Francis with a fawn. There are many other things in my (our) garden of remembrance, each one helping me turn a regret into a memorial. It is a refuge I can go to whenever I feel grief: a comfort and a consolation.

Focusing gave me this lovely, healing image. I am sharing this deeply personal experience with you because I want you to see a little of what Focusing can bring into your life: an inner place that is capable of bringing peace and resolution to the most difficult and seemingly unresolvable feelings.

To find out more or book for my next Focusing workshop at Bleddfa go here: http://www.bleddfacentre.org/focusing-workshops/