Holding space for someone going through trauma, illness, grief or anything that shocks them out of themselves is vital to their healing. What is this you might ask? Holding space in this context, is simply the act of being there for someone with an open heart, with complete love and without judgment. Being present for them in any way you can…..it can be as simple as just sitting in silence with them or holding their hand. When you come from heart, love and acceptance, the most amazing healing can happen.
I have had the privilege of both being the recipient of and giver in holding space and it is truly amazing the healing that occurs for both the receiver and the giver in these moments.
As some of you may know when I was 6 months pregnant with my first baby, my father passed away very suddenly. This event, shook my world to its core. My father, my love, my soul mate had died and would no longer walk this earth with me…..I found it hard to breath and only held it all together because I had this remarkable life growing inside of me. After a few months, my beautiful Lilli was born 10 days early and I was overwhelmed with love and joy for this angel. Life felt like it was getting back on track. One month after my baby girl blessed my life, my mother passed away. Again, the wind was taken out of me….how, how would I survive this? How could I ever live in a world where the two people who loved me unconditionally had suddenly left me? Who was I? I questioned everything and yes I fell into a state of depression. My world turned grey and I just couldn’t see past my grief and my loss. I knew I had this beautiful baby girl who I loved more than life and I was there for her and I played with her and I cherished her but when we were apart, my life was grey….
When Lilli was about 5 months, my husband, (God I love that man), came to me and said “Deena, there is a mother’s group for new mums not far from us, I think it would be good for you to go to it and get out of the house” I resisted for a while but eventually went and it was the best decision……we met for the first time at the clinic, with a nurse and she discussed the value of these groups etc. We decided as a group to meet every fortnight. I remember thinking when I left, “Geez, will they ever want me back? I’ll just bring the whole group down” but I went back the next fortnight. At this time, I wasn’t doing much talking to anyone and I would go and sit with Lilli and just nod and smile politely but never say a word for fear I would just burst into tears. These remarkable ladies asked me back the next fortnight and kept on asking me back every fortnight after and I would just sit quietly and observe everything that was happening and not say a word. Each time I left I thought, “Why are they asking me back” but their love, kindness and acceptance kept me going back every fortnight. No one ever asked me what was wrong, no one ever judged me, they just accepted me and my Lilli for who we were. After several months of going, I started talking again and I started to see colours in the world again. It was like slowly a veil was lifting, that heavy grey veil was becoming thinner with each visit to my mother’s group. Without knowing, they gave me exactly what I needed, a place to feel loved and accepted for who I was in that exact moment. They held this amazing space for me and I will forever be grateful to them for that. This simple act facilitated the start of my healing process. I often think of those women and say a silent prayer of thanks for the universe bringing them into my life.
Holding space for someone going through a trauma, or difficult times does not have to be an elaborate gesture, you just need to come from a place of love and acceptance for who they are and the journey that they are on.