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Did hiking help anyone else with grief?

hikinghelped
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2016

My mom was diagnosed with leukemia (AML) and fought for a year and a half before succumbing to the disease in 2008. It will be 8 years this fall and I still struggle every day from it. We had an amazing mother/daughter relationship and we did everything together. One activity that recently helped me was taking a hike by myself in Alaska (inspired in part by Cheryl Strayed’s book where hiking helped her deal with the loss of her mother). It was the first time in a long time I had felt happy and at peace. I am wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences whether it is hiking or walking in nature? I am interested in figuring out how these experiences might help anyone struggling with loss. 

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1321
Joined: Apr 2009

I am so sorry that you lost your mom. I have lost both a husband and daughter to cancer in the last 3 years. My health does not permit me to "wilderness" hike any longer, but it is uplifting to take my dog and walk in the park. One of the members on a grief forum I belong to lives in the forest and hikes several miles a day regularly. It has been a lifesaver for him. Exercise is an important activity during grief. I think it reaffirms the fact that we are still alive and must carry on.

I have not read the book you refer to, but did see the movie. Very powerful.

Wolfen

hikinghelped
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2016

I am so sorry to hear you have lost both your husband and daughter and in such a short timespan. I'm in that time now where people think I should have moved on by now and I still miss her and miss sharing my life with her. My experience last summer really helped me and I've been thinking about it a lot lately with Mother's Day coming up. I teach about sport and culture and do research in the area and selfishly, maybe, I thought talking about this might help me and perhaps others as well if we could find commonalities to our experiences. If you would be interested in talking with me, or learning more about what I'm trying to do, please feel free to email or direct message me on here. And if you think your friend from the grief forum might be interested in telling his story please pass along this information. I've found that any chance I can get to talk about my mom or my experience helps me and maybe we can all help each other.

I would also recommend Strayed's book but it is painfully honest - I too thought the movie was well done and powerful.

wolfen's picture
wolfen
Posts: 1321
Joined: Apr 2009

Don't put too much emphasis on the opinion of those who think you should move on. I think grief is a lot like Cancer in that there seems to be no expiration date. For each of us, "moving on " will happen when the time is right.

Even after 3 years, I find that I start each conversation with strangers talking about the loss of my husband and daughter. I'm not sure why this is, except that is the uppermost thought in my head at all times. Probably a really stupid thing to do. There is no way these strangers would care anyway.

It is very nice that you are willing to help others during your struggle. You might consider joining Grief Healing Discussion Groups, which I belong to. It was started by Hospice Of The Valley. There are individual forums for loss, but you are free to post wherever you like. You may get some favorable responses.

Best of luck and peace to you,

Wolfen

hikinghelped
Posts: 3
Joined: May 2016

Thanks for the suggestion of the discussion groups - I've never done anything like that but it sounds like it might be helpful. Even talking with you on here has helped me feel like someone else out there "gets it." I agree that I still want to explain to new people about mom because it was /is such a big part of my life and I think I just want people to know or acknowledge it. 

Thanks again for your kind words.

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