Tapping for Grief
I just saw a Facebook post in which someone’s boyfriend couldn’t understand why she was so upset about her mother’s death. After all, it’s expected. You see, her mother was a drug addict. I can imagine the responsibility her daughter may have felt when her mother died. I can imagine that she wondered what she could have or should have done to help her mother. I can imagine it because I had experienced some of those feelings myself.
Why be upset when your mother died when she was nearly 89 years old and had dementia? Well, that was my mother and I mourned hard for two years when she died in February of 2013. I had been the one who had been watching out for her for the past 6 years. I moved her 1000 miles to live near me when we discovered she couldn’t quite handle life’s day-to-day demands on her own anymore. We found a lovely independent living facility and she loved and was successful there for several years. I found an awesome pill dispensing machine that I would fill for her every few weeks and it would call out to her twice day, “Time to take your medications, please press the red button!”
She even found a lovely man to share meals and walks with. It was really good. But then the dementia got worse and she started wandering at 2 a.m. and knocking on doors and I knew then that it was time for a safer facility. Once she moved things were not so great. The new facility stopped giving her the dementia medications and she lost a lot of ground and was moved into the dementia unit after just a few weeks.
She often became agitated and she had stomach pains. I was pretty sure that acupuncture would help her. I did my research and made an appointment with someone that was highly recommended and took the day off from work to bring her to him. Well she absolutely refused to let him work on her. I tried to coax and cajole and when it all failed and we were back in the car I yelled at her and told her I couldn’t do it anymore and one of my sisters would have to take over! She was so upset and I was upset with myself. I drove her back home.
Eventually I found another acupuncturist named Alice and my mom went in and was fine. I felt like an idiot for trying to take her to a man. Mom was unfamiliar with the whole process of acupuncture and did not trust this strange man with long hair. But she let Alice work on her and we continued seeing this wonderful woman for many months and each time Mom would come away feeling calmer and happier. Afterwards I took her to a Chinese restaurant and we had dinner together.
But I still felt horrible about that time when I lost my temper.
When my mother was near dying I was with her at hospice in a town about 35 minutes from my home. I went home to sleep and came back the next day. Well she was not speaking anymore at that point and she could not stand without passing out. The end was near. I was home when I got a call from the hospice and they told me that my mother had stabilized and would have to be moved to a nursing home. They called me on a Friday and I begged and pleaded with them to give me a bed in my home so that I could take care of her there. They refused and so my sisters and I went about trying to find the best nursing home we could.
We finally settled on a Catholic nursing home about 45 minutes from my house because after reading all the reviews it was the only one that did not have complaints about ill-treatment of residents. But my mother was Jewish and she was not happy about being there. How did I know if she wasn’t speaking? It was the look in her eyes. She looked at me with eyes that said, “How could you do this to me?” Ooh the guilt.
The nurses were very kind at the home. I spent the night there with her and then I went home to change and bring back a few things to eat and a pillow so I could rest at night. On my way back to the home a nurse called to let me know that she had passed away. She was there for just a couple of days. And I found out that Hospice had never delivered her meds to help her with her pain. This knowledge landed on me like a lead suit. More guilt…
I felt I should have fought harder. I was angry at Hospice. I was angry at myself. I was confused and abandoned and felt like the orphan I had just become. I missed the mother I’d lost over 6 years earlier to dementia. I had been mourning for 6 years and now I was mourning all over again. I felt guilty and lost and I cried for two years.
And then one day I was surfing the Internet, and something caught my eye. It was a documentary that was available to watch, free, but only within the next 10 days. It was called "The Tapping Solution”. It was a film that taught 10 people how to use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to reduce emotional and physical pain. It is also known as “tapping”. Normally I would scroll on by but I felt a familiar little spiritual tap on my shoulder and that said “watch this”. So I did. I watched it and I tapped along with it while thinking about something disturbing from my childhood. Wow! I could not believe how fast this made me feel better. I wondered how else tapping could help me. Maybe it could help me to get my smile back.
A couple of weeks later, I decided to see if there was a certification program in EFT was excited to find there were several programs. I chose the one that seemed the toughest, so I would get the absolute best training available. I wonder if it was my mom, who was a teacher in life, led me to find tapping.
When I first started tapping on my feelings about my mother I was depressed. I would cry at the drop of a hat. If a song came on that reminded me of her - if i smelled someone's perfume that she wore - I cried.
When I tapped on my feelings about my mother, I found that I was able to release those hurting feelings and forgive myself for things I could not or did not control. I am now able to recall the memories without the guilt and just a pinch of sadness. I am able to remember my mother for the wonderful accomplishments she made in her life and for the best parts of our relationship. I talk with her when I see her reflection in my face in the mirror. And I feel her as she watches over me.
EFT is a powerful modality of Energy Psychology. I am now in full swing learning even more methods of helping myself and others such as Logosynthesis, Psych-K, and Matrix Reimprinting. It took me over five decades but I have found my calling, at last. Living through and conquering my emotional torment has helped me to be compassionate and patient with others. Now I am actively working with clients and have recently launched a program to help parents of addicted individuals.