Rewind to the 14th June and the news I had been dreading most had hit the airwaves; two deaths that I was left to mourn in the space of a few hours. I crumbled and fell but held my head high, riding above the waves of despair as the tributes came pouring in. I saw the last memories of my friend and grandma replay in my mind, social media plastered with statuses and photos to commemorate their lives. But I found it too hard to cope and went offline, hoping that not being confronted with their deaths 24/7 would help me move on and accept their loss. Since I began blogging last August I have only had one other digital detox- two months ago- and although I felt refreshed it made getting into blogging so much harder than anticipated. But this time everything changed, I spent Wednesday evening mourning the loss of my friend and by Thursday morning I was remembering my dead grandma, it was a hard few hours but with the help of the blogging community I put a brave face on and kicked myself out of bed so that I could go into work. For eight solid hours I worked, tears threatening to spill at every moment but I kept ploughing ahead knowing that my angels wouldn’t want me to live in the past. During breaks I resisted social media, forgoing it entirely instead to have a digital detox and write poems and prose dedicated to the loss of my angels. I smiled through tears and remembered them in happier times, not needing pictures or social media to remind me of their presence. When you lose a loved one it can be tempting to shut the world out and I did for a few days but not for the reasons you may think. Ultimately I needed to take a break, I was burnt out and the days I spent not sleeping because I was mourning meant that I was even more exhausted than usual. I was so tired that instead of coming home after work and working on my blog I was resting in bed, crying because I was in pain. Eventually by day two the pain began to subdue and the tears were happy, not sad as I chuckled to myself over their cheeky antics. I was laughing again and it was an alien noise, should I be happy when I am meant to be in mourning? I thought it was strange but ‘Itstimetologoff’ changed my mind; a digital detox site that specializes in retreats, I found during my research that forgoing digital media-especially in times of crisis is a beneficial and vital part of grieving.
Grief is mindfulness and being mindful allowed me to reconnect with who I was as a person and remind myself that I needed to stop to breathe because I was close to breaking point. My swollen red rimmed eyes and dark bags under my eyes were testament to my grief but that did not mean I had to let it control me. Everyday I forced myself to leave the security of my bed, head into work and leave my phone behind. Everyday I cut off checking social media at regular intervals and focused on giving myself time to grieve the loss of my loved ones. I found cutting social media out really helped and although I felt sluggish and at loss as to what to do I found that it gave me more time to meditate and focus on breathing techniques that could control my anxiety again. I was itching to get back to social media but I promised myself that I had until Sunday night ( Four Days) because I didn’t think it would be right to pretend that everything was normal when I was in so much emotional pain. Four days was not enough time to grieve granted but those four days taught me to appreciate to live each day in the moment and live like I am carrying out my angels legacy. They told me to travel and carry out my dreams because life is too short to break bucket lists, follow your heart they said and follow it well. I followed my heart and it brought me a lifeline; itstimetologoff showed me digital detox retreats in warm climates that would help me regain mindfulness, connect with nature and most importantly disengage from work, as networking or discussing work is gently discouraged.
I could hardly believe it, sun soaked climes like Italy offered 18th Century Masseria’s laden with an abundance of olive and fig trees, overlooking 20 acres of land while Hawaiian ranches offered meditative walks in stunning locations. I was never one to openly embrace meditation and clean living prior to my loss but something snapped inside me and I realized I needed a change. I could not sleepwalk through life any longer and it was time to take control. Despite my meager income and unfortunate housing situation that did not stop me from dreaming of a retreat where I could escape the confines of my daily commute and spend time getting to know the real me and how she acts in a natural, non-urban or industrialized environment, where the only worry I will have is getting to know all the other retreaters. I grew up in the idyllic countryside but those days are firmly behind me as I trudge through tubes and train stations, leaving behind the natural beauty of my past life. Just for once I would like to appreciate the beauty of the natural world and plant a seed in my loved ones memory whose loss is still sore in my heart. I want to take silent walks and imagine their presence beside me and I want to sample the goods of natures bounty and watch them take gulping bites alongside me. I want to salute the sun and watch it wave back at me knowing that the spirit of my angels are all around me. Its hard to remember them and their love for travel when I am stuck in England but knowing that I could have a chance to celebrate them without distraction from social media would be a dream come true. The benefits of a digital detox worked for me once but it was even more potent the second time and allowed me to reevaluate my priorities and assess how I should be living my life and not how society wants me to live it. I will not be broken, forced into submission because I am grieving. Instead I will use my loss and my pain to remember the wise words of ItsTimeToLogOff and reap the benefits of a digital detox by always following my heart. I have Shante to thank for that, rest in peace my beautiful princess who showed me that travel is mindfully liberating. There is a place for you in my heart always…
Has the loss of a loved one taught you to reevaluate your priorities?
Please note I was compensated to write this post but all events in question are real and not fictitious. Monetary value does not affect opinions and all words are my own.