The benefits of meditation and mindfulness are broad and can help people with all kinds of personal challenges in life.
Losing a parent when you're young is like having your whole life sped up right in front of you. All the years of making memories you thought you had, suddenly disappear.
Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realise they’re actually gone, especially when you're so young.
I was only 7 years old when my dad passed away and the moment you find out is like something out of a film. You can’t quite comprehend what you're being told and trying to make any sense of the finality is impossible. They’re not coming back?
I attempted to process the situation in a completely matter of fact way and remember saying to my Mum “everyone’s Dad’s got to die, right?” Yes, she answered “Ok, so my Dad just died early then?” It’s a bizarrely logical way of thinking about it but it was the only way I could make any attempt to process what had just happened.
I could see how upset everyone was around me and didn’t want to make it worse, so I made it my mission to be ‘fine’ with it and tried to be as ‘perfect’ as I could so no-one else would leave.
As a child, your brain is still developing and you don't have the vocabulary to express what you're feeling inside so it's very easy to suppress your emotions because you don’t have the tools to deal with them. I was a very happy and confident child, right up until last year. Heading towards burn out my brain had been in fight or flight mode for 6 months and suddenly I had to face the very real fact... I wasn’t ok.
Back then, mindfulness wasn’t something recognised in supporting a Child's mental health so there wasn’t anything non-invasive to support grief and the feelings you have. It was only during the Hoffman that I realised how much anger I'd held inside of me and was finally able to process the loss of my Dad.
It's so refreshing and inspiring to hear I’m not alone. Prince Harry recently spoke frankly about mental health, his struggle to deal with the loss of his mother and how it took him over 20 years of saying ‘I’m fine’ to finally say, ‘I’m not ok’. The journalist Bryony Gordon, who talks openly but her own mental health put it so eloquently “Prince Harry just re-defined strength and dignity for a new generation”.
Simple mindful tools and techniques give children the space and opportunity to process their emotions without feeling like they’re being counselled or judged. Every person is unique - meditation and visualisations give you the opportunity to process emotions in your own way and on your own terms.
Grief doesn’t need to be something that creeps up on you later in life.
Knowing first-hand the difference mindfulness makes to both your physical and mental well-being means I can now help everyone get that one step further to a Happy Head.