By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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Our beloved cat, Little, died. He was 14. While I try to remember all the sweet and loving times with him purring in my lap - and I do part of the time - I remember the last day when I found him and he was nearly dead already. I was shaking so badly I wasn’t sure I could drive him to the vet. But like a good mom, I managed.
He was fine the night before. And then he was gone. All of his intestines were enlarged and he had sepsis in his belly.
The thing about new grief is that is brings up old grief. The old grief is stimulated – physiologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. As I mentioned recently, it’s been 18 years since my daughter died. And less than two years since mom died. And I miss my grandparents who died when I was in my 40s (I was lucky to have them so long). It brings up the grief of miscarriages. And so on. I miss my son, who is alive and well, and at college.
What we do when grieving is take really good care of ourselves. Say yes or no when those answers are the best self-care. Allow others to care for and support us. Being really, really, really close to my husband is a huge help. His physical presence, love, and warmth calms me even though he is sad, too. As a couple it is imperative that we are in each others’ care. In the good times, and the hard times. Keeping in close contact with my son helps us both.
I’ve been working with an endocrinologist to get my thyroid levels corrected. He was so caring on the phone yesterday when we had a regular appointment to talk about my health. We ended up talking about Little, and he acknowledged the love and bond, and that it’s losing part of the family. He talked about grief affecting hormone levels in the body, too.
Good friends of mine have been doing an annual Day of the Dead grief ritual for nearly 20 years. It’s on November 5th. You can get further information
Our culture doesn’t like death or grief. We don’t like to talk about it or deal with it. However, grief doesn’t go away. If it’s not addressed, it goes inward, and comes out one way or another. You can “deaden” yourself, or be up and happy and ignore it. But it takes a toll on all of your systems. Many people get ill and don’t know why. Many people’s relationships change somehow, but they don’t know why.
Dealing with grief isn’t easy. It’s messy and painful. And human. And necessary.