clairebidwell clairebidwell

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Claire Bidwell Smith  Grief Therapist, mother, and author of The Rules of Inheritance and After This: When Life is Over Where Do We Go? (Penguin) Based in Los Angeles.

http://www.clairebidwellsmith.com/

LAX ✈️ CHS || Notes from seat 6F
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Chasing dawn across the night sky, from California to South Carolina. The comforting thrum of the plane's engine, the feeling of being suspended between two places. .
I've been thinking lately about why it's so hard to be happy. It's been a theme all month with my clients, and with myself. This difficulty in letting things be good. A perpetual sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the feeling that there is something we should be worrying about, even when there's not.
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Does it fuel us in some way? To think that things are harder than they actually are? Have we forgotten how to enjoy what is? To breathe? To simply be? Why is this something we must practice? .
I spend inordinate amounts of time thinking about worst case scenarios. But my work as of late is to reverse that. Whenever I catch myself thinking about awful things that could happen I stop, take a breath, and make myself imagine their opposite, the best case scenario.
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A life long-lived. Love. Possibility. Abundance. My daughters becoming mothers. My hands, wrinkled and wise. The endless golden beauty of dawn, another new day. .
#notesfromtheroad

Sunday style. πŸ•Ά

Welcome to Sunday Mourning, a weekly series about grief.
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What happens when we die? This is a question I've been asking myself for over twenty years. Recent studies show that people who are either grounded in spiritual or religious practices, or the opposite - atheists, have less anxiety about death than people who have no firm beliefs. .
I know this was the case for me. After my mother died I floundered for years to find a framework for which to understand her death. Why did she die at age 58? Would I ever see her again? Could she see me? I had no answers and looking for them seemed even harder than not, so for a long time I just didn't believe anything. .
But after my first daughter was born I was consumed with anxiety all over again. What would happen to her if I died? What would happen to me if she died? I felt compelled to search for answers. I talked to rabbis, priests, psychic mediums, shamans, you name it. Anyone I thought could tell me the answer. .
What I realized after a while was that I was searching for faith. For a way to believe in something bigger than me. Bigger than her. And each time I found glimpses of it I felt a little less anxious. .
I haven't found the exact answer but what I have found is that letting myself be open about it, letting myself wonder about it, has had a profound effect on my sense of peace about the people I've lost.
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Do you have a belief about the afterlife? And if so, does it help you feel connected to your lost loved ones? Comment below. And tag someone you know who is grieving and let them know you're thinking about them. .
#sundaymourningseries #griefsupport #griefandloss #griefjourney #grief

Saturday nights are for watching movies with your pals. 🍿 πŸŽ₯

It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart. -- Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturdays are for ice cream. 🍦

Friday afternoon. A grassy spot overlooking the ocean and Didion's latest. Inspired by my beautiful friend and book-lover @emmaroberts with the launch of her new book club @belletrist. Read an interview between Emma and Joan on the Belletrist site. πŸ’™#fridayreads #belletristbabe #joandidion

Thursday love. πŸ’ž

Thanks to everyone who has been posting on the #sundaymourningseries threads. I've been loving reading your comments. If you're looking for more grief resources you might want to check out the series of videos I made for @oneoeight.tv You can listen to me talk about everything from guilt, anxiety, confusion around the 5 stages, ways to stay connected to your lost loved one, and more. One O Eight offers free ten-day trials and has so many incredible videos on everything from yoga to wellness and nutrition. Link in profile. πŸ‚ #griefjourney #griefandloss #griefsupport #grief

Monday morning. It's spring in Los Angeles.

Sundays are for going to the movies. 🌹

Welcome to Sunday Mourning, a weekly series about grief. πŸ‚
Last week I wrote about how lonely grieving can be. I think that this is because it lasts so much longer than anyone expects. Most people find themselves surrounded by supportive friends and family in the initial weeks following a loss, but then slowly people begin to drop off. They stop asking how you're doing, and they stop acknowledging the loss, even though you're still thinking about it all the time. πŸ‚
In fact, most people don't really begin to grieve until a few months out from the loss. The initial weeks and months after someone dies are spent in a period of shock and it isn't until several months later that the heavy mourning comes on. But by then most of the people in your life have moved on and often they expect you to be doing the same. πŸ‚
After my mother died I didn't cry for almost a year. I simply felt numb. It was like I was watching everything from outside my body. I kept waiting to feel something, anything. And then I remember exactly when it hit me. Almost 11 months later. New Year's eve at a club in Atlanta with my boyfriend. I remember the pulsing music, the drink in my hand, the shouts all around me counting down the seconds to the new year...a new year which she would never see. As that realization hit me I collapsed in a back hallway of the club, crying all the tears I'd been holding in all those months. And I don't think I stopped crying for several years after that. πŸ‚
This is why people become confused about how they're supposed to be grieving. The truth is there is no right way to do it. There is no perfect timeline. There is no magic formula to follow. Grief is different for everyone. Don't let anyone tell you that you should be over it, or moving on before you are ready. Your grief is just as unique and special as the relationship you had with the person you lost. You are the only person who knows the right way for you to mourn. πŸ‚
Tag someone you know who is grieving and let them know you're thinking about them. And please share your own experiences of grief and loss in the comments below. πŸ‚
#sundaymourningseries #grief #griefsupport #griefandloss #griefjourney

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