I’ve been seeing some folks with grief lately, including myself. Grief from a loss of a loved one is a very intangible. And as my son says, “Grief sucks.” When we encounter a loss we are told “time will heal your heart” and that “the pain will diminish over time.” This can be true but grief can also get stuck in us for too long. We need something to help us move forward and process the grief. Regular medicine can sedate us or give us anti-depressants which numb the grief. Therapy is an important tool with grief and one I believe in whole-heartedly, but what if you can’t allow yourself to feel the grief? What if you are unable to cry and release the grief? What if you are so riddled with guilt that all you can think of are the “what-ifs”? What if you cry incessantly making talk-therapy impossible? These are all aspects of grief that I’ve seen in my practice over the last several months.
I personally lost my 21-year-old cat, Suki, on March 19th. For the week leading up to her death my husband and I ceased all normal activity. We stayed home and nursed her night and day, barely sleeping. She had been our first “child” before our two-legged was born. And then the day came when we had to put her down. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made and I felt horribly guilt-ridden afterward. We buried her in the back yard and I couldn’t even look out the back windows. I avoided the walking path behind our house so as not to see her burial place. I cried non-stop. My heart felt like it was physically breaking in half and I thought I would go crazy with sadness and guilt. And then I took a well-known homeopathic grief remedy called Ignatia Amara.
I had studied the indications for Ignatia in cases; I had seen it prescribed in clinic. I knew what to look for and what it might do for me, but I had never experienced it personally. What I felt was unexpected: I felt as though a container had been given to me to hold my grief and guilt. I felt as though I was contained in a way that was not suppressive; I still felt deep sadness, but it was bearable. I could feel the sadness but not bawl incessantly. I could feel that a horrible loss had occurred and go and embrace the rock where Suki is buried without falling on my knees in prostration. I grieve even now as I write this, but it is not overwhelming. Ignatia isn’t suppressing my feelings; it is supporting them.
There are other grief remedies in the Homeopathic Materia Medica for old grief, silent grief and grief that causes immobility and paralysis to name just a few. It is not always a straight line to find the perfect remedy but when you do it is a miraculous support during a very difficult time.