Grief is serious, and right now there is a lot, sadly too much, going around.
When my father died, I woke up every day with a pain that felt like my front body had been torn off. Even as I stood, went to work, engaged in daily life, I felt doubled over, gripped with that wrenching, twisting, searing pain. Life was hallucinatory: pretending to be fine while a screaming ache echoed through my hollow insides.
Recently science has been able to demonstrate that the physical pain of grief is real. According to Scientific American, circuits of the cortical pain network become activated when you experience such deep loss. “Grief – in its most basic form – represents an alarm reaction set off by a deficit signal in the behavioural system underlying attachment,” writes psychology professor John Archer of the University of Central Lancashire in his book The Nature of Grief.
While your entire neurobiological system is trying to adjust to radically altered circumstances, mapping possibilities for survival, naturally, you don’t feel like eating. But you have to.
When we were grieving, my sister and I ate bananas and yogurt. This Tonic is based on those two simple ingredients, plus a few everyday, enhancing foods. It is easy to fix up, and easy to sip, swallow and digest. It carries enough basic nutrition to keep you strong until you can stomach a proper meal, which itself should be cooked and highly digestible: hearty soups are best, or comfort foods like pb&j or rice pudding.
Sweet is the key taste, but not processed sugar. If you are doing the grocery shopping, focus on fresh fruits, dried dates and nuts, avocados, root vegetables, soups and grains that are easy to prepare, and foods high in protein, B vitamins and Omegas, like eggs or salmon.
Please resist the tendency to reach for pizza, pasta, frozen or microwaveable “convenience” foods, chips, cakes, cookies, muffins. Wheat is genetically altered in a way that makes it hard to digest. Frozen and microwaved food is biologically altered, and hard to metabolize. Your system right now needs easy. It has enough to do just trying to “digest” life. Feed yourself real food, nature’s own convenience food – banana, avocado, apples, dates, pears, soft cheeses, soaked nuts, whole grains.
1 ripe banana
1 cup apple juice
1 cup yogurt, preferably non-dairy: coconut, almond, your favorite
2 medjool dates
1 T maple syrup, optional
1 shake cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated is best
dash turmeric, optional
5-6 grains of pink or sea salt
Blend well and serve at room temperature. Do not serve cold. Grief is cold enough.
In an 1843 letter to his second cousin, Reverend William Darwin Fox, Charles Darwin wrote, “Strong affections have always appeared to me, the most noble part of a man’s character and the absence of them an irreparable failure; you ought to console yourself with thinking that your grief is the necessary price for having been born with such feelings.”
God Bless the Children, and all who suffer.
May you be embraced by a host of heavenly angels and carried to the light.
Our prayers are with you.