My name is Annabel Ruffell and I am the founder of Journey for Earth, a global awareness company committed to inspiring change for humanity, the environment and animals, one choice at a time.
A friend introduced me to Nathalie Himmelrich and I was touched by her journey which she shares so openly and honestly – one of dealing with the loss of a child.
I am very excited to be the author of the forthcoming book ‘GRIEVING PARENTS – Surviving Loss As A Couple’. Find out more about the book on www.grievingparents.net or on the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/grievingparents.net
I love to help people find their inspiration through my role as a Transformational Coach & Counsellor. I am so passionate about what I’m doing that sometimes it seem that it is not me who is doing the work. It’s not even ‘work’.
Having lived in 3 continents and among various cultures from Australians, to Chinese, Indians, Malays and many Expats, I feel like a resident of the world, which also allows a deeper understanding of the human psyche.
My passion is writing and re-thinking human behaving and emoting. I’m processing my own experiences using my blog and you can also read my daughter’s blog, where she writes letter to her identical twin sister, who left her body at a young age of 3 days.
I also write regular articles on topics like relationship, sexuality and intimacy, understanding the self, grief and loss, and social networking.
1) What Journey are You on?
I’m on the journey of life in human form: I believe that we are spiritual beings living to experience emotions, and to learn from living in a human body.
Here are a few of the main parts of my current journey:
Dealing with Loss: Looking back from the present moment I notice that dealing with loss (in all its form and shape) has been one of my main topics in life. The peak of grief and loss I experienced as the result of losing my younger identical twin daughter on the third day of her life, followed by my mother’s suicide four and a half month later.
With that in mind, I have really been led to my intent to:
~ share openly
~ break the silence of so many taboos, including child death and suicide
~ allow others to feel, speak, embrace
~ encourage someone else to accept their own story of grief
Mothering and nurturing: Another big aspect of my life has been to learn to mother and nurture first myself, then others and now my daughter at the same time as staying healthy and centered myself. I’m still learning and probably won’t complete this task.
Expression: Again, another central aspect has been and still is about expressing myself, finding my voice. Maybe that’s everyone’s journey?
2) Does the intensity of loss and grief remain present?
It does and it doesn’t. Time helps but does not completely heal all wounds, as the saying goes.
The grief is present whenever the child is remembered. The intensity softens and gets integrated into a ‘New Normal’ self and life yet there is no turning back to what was known before. The self changes with the closeness of experiencing life and death.
As a society we avoid strong emotions and would prefer to see someone ‘get better’ or ‘get over it’. That is the challenge of a grieving parent, as there is no getting over it, just dealing and living with it.
3) What has helped you/helps you to get through those days that feel the hardest?
Remembering the hardest days I could not tell you what helped being in it. Reflecting on them makes me realize that there is no permanence in life (and death). There is no ‘safe zone’ when progressing with grief. It can hit you again and again without prior notice.
Present moment awareness applies to the challenging days. All there is to do is breathe and feel. Easier said than done…
I remember my heart breaking in the sense of not being able to breathe. Once I was breast-feeding my daughter and as I was finishing I felt this stabbing pain in my chest of shattering glass piercing my lungs. I could not move. I needed to be coached back into breathing normally.
Probably the most helpful was to have respectful support, someone being able to be there with me in the pain without wanting to fix me.
4) Tell us about your forthcoming book “Grieving Parents – Surviving Loss As A Couple.”
This book focuses on the effect parental bereavement has on the parents and their relationship. It is about surviving loss as a couple and the re-emerging from grief into a life of joy and melancholy, laughter and tears, happiness and sadness. Not either or but AND.
‘Surviving loss as a couple’ is about how you can re-emerge from this crazy ride through the darkness of grief with renewed depth and understanding with your partner. Your relationship can and will be affected and this book provides ways to support yourself and each other through the process. This book is based on bereaved parents’ needs, challenges and detailed descriptions of what has helped numerous couples that I have interviewed – couples in varying situations and at different stages in their journey with grief.
5) What is your greatest hope for our planet at this time?
As mentioned above, it is really about bringing awareness to the process of grief, one that we will be dealing with sooner or later in our lives. My wish is that through breaking the silence we enable society to be more open and understanding with each other, allowing and accepting the experience of grief, however it may be expressed. I hope my sharing will encourage more supporters to stand strongly with someone in emotional pain (grief or other) without the urge to fix them or make them feel better before they are ready themselves.
What Journey are YOU on?