Tag Archives: frozen grief

Essential Oils and Unresolved Grief

Unresolved grief

Grief is love turned into an eternal missing
Rosamund Lupton

I have written about grief before. This is the type of grief most people think about, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, career, home or limb, relationship breakup or divorce.

There is another type of grief that is rarely spoken of or understood by those not affected by it. In this type of grief the person doesn’t know with certainty how or where their loved one died or even that they are dead. Part of them knows that their loved one is dead but another holds on to the belief that because a body has not been found they may still be out there somewhere unable to contact them.

This type of grief is known as  unresolved grief, ambiguous loss or frozen grief and the person may never recover or may seem to recover from the loss but it is just under the surface. This type of grief is often found in those who have a relative missing in action in war, been kidnapped and/or murdered; the person or body is never found leaving the relatives continually looking for answers.

This grief can never be truly healed until the person learns the circumstances of their loved one’s death and the body or remains are found. There will still be pain and a sense of loss but the emptiness and uncertainty will be gone and the person will have closure.

There is often a sense that they must bring the body home and have a funeral for the relative or for them to be buried where they are safe and cared for.

Sometimes this sense of unresolved grief can be handed down the generations as in the case of ANZAC soldiers lost in the 1st World War. We see grandchildren, great grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews searching for the names of lost relatives in the towns of Fromelles and Villers-Bretonneux in France. Once they find the grave of their lost relative there there is a sense of relief and they are finally able to let go of the need to search for this relative.

This sense of loss may not only be confined to the friends and relatives but also to those involved in the search for a missing person. I once saw a programme about the search for Flight VH-MDX.
33 years ago flight VH-MDX with 5 people on board disappeared over the Barrington Tops near Newcastle in NSW. This area has been described by some as a jungle. During the programme they interviewed the friend who charted the plane, some relatives of the missing men, the airport controllers and Dick Smith from CASA the civil aviation safety authority. It was obvious that even after 33 years these people were still affected by the loss of these men. The daughter of one of the men said that, “we need to solve this one so that we all know what happened” while the son of another said that it would mean everything to him to find his father, bring him home and have a funeral.

Sometimes this sense of unresolved grief can be compounded by other feelings as in the case 16 years ago when 2 young teenagers accepted a lift in a country town where they were living. One realised something was wrong and managed to escape while her friend did not and was never seen again. The feeling of guilt at accepting the lift was further compounded by her despair and anger at the police not believing her and not instigating a search for the missing girl due to their bad reputations in the town.

Unresolved grief is not only restricted to the mysterious death or disappearance of a loved one. There are many other examples including the loss of a dream that can never come true, for example finding out that you can never conceive a much longed for child. An abortion, miscarriage or being forced to give up a child you have given birth to can lead to a sense of unresolved grief if you are continually thinking about the child you lost and the life you and they missed out on – going to school, dating, marriage and grandchildren. A parent who has given up a child and the child who was given up may continually wonder about their child or biological parent and the possibility of seeing or meeting them again.

A child who was deserted by a parent may feel a sense of unresolved grief wondering why their parent left them and grieve for the times they don’t get to share with the missing parent.

The spouse or child of a person who has Alzheimer’s may feel a sense of unresolved grief especially if the person no longer remembers who they are. Even if the person does remember them they may have changed their personality or live in the distant past. In this case the relative is grieving the person who once was and their relationship to them which is forever changed.

A person experiencing unresolved grief may have difficulty with transition or change, making major decisions that affect their life, maybe unable to accept disappointment or loss and move on, or feel continually hopeless, depressed, anxious or guilty. They may suffer from post-partum depression, emotional withdrawal, insecurity or restlessness.

Essential Oils
Although only having closure can truly heal this kind of grief essential oils can help ease the sense of loss and allow them to more easily deal with change and other losses in their life both minor and major.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) emotional balance
Angelica helps to restore a sense of emotional balance, rediscover your own inner strength and release negative feelings from traumatic events.

Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) joy
Bergamot helps to soothe your feelings of anger, frustration and blame. She helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel and bring a sense of joy back into your life. Don’t apply to skin that will be exposed to sunlight within 24 hours as she is phototoxic.

Chamomile Roman (Chamaemelum nobile) peace
Roman Chamomile helps you to feel at peace with the way you are feeling and soothes your feelings of being abandoned by the one you loved.

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) transition
Cypress is calming at times of transition and when difficult changes need to be made. She helps you to move on in your life.

Juniper (Juniperus communis) physical and emotional purifier
Juniper helps reduce obsessional thoughts, preoccupation with the past, emotional confusion and mental restlessness.

Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua) safe
Kunzea helps to release the shock and pain of your loss and to know you are safe.

Lavender (Lavandula angustafolia) nurture and forgiveness
Lavender reminds you to take time to nurture yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually during this time. She allows you to forgive yourself for things left unsaid or undone.

Marjoram (Marjoram hortensis) comfort
Marjoram can bring a sense of comfort and stop those anxious and what if thoughts that seem to be going on in your mind on a non-stop loop.

Myrrh (Commiphora molmol) healing
Myrrh brings a sense of inner stillness and peace that helps to ease your sorrow and grief and your feelings of loss and rejection.

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) reassurance
Neroli eases emotional exhaustion and helps bring unexpressed anger and feelings of denial to the surface.

Pine (Pinus sylvestris) self-confidence
Pine can be used to restore self-confidence, increase low self-esteem and clear negative energy from yourself and your environment.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) stillness
Sandalwood can help you cut your ties with the past and move through your feelings of loss and isolation. She can bring a sense of clarity and moments of stillness.

Look through the list and choose one to three oils that seem to resonate with how you are feeling. Either use the oils singly or in a blend in any of the following.

Vaporize 3 or 4 drops in a diffuser or oil burner to scent the room.

Room or body mists. Add 50 mls of purified water or hydrosol to a 100ml coloured spray bottle then add 30 drops of your essential oil blend and fill the bottle with another 50 mls of water or hydrosol. Replace the top and shake the bottle before each use. You can use this to spray a room but be careful not to get on your furniture, spray on yourself or spray the area in front of you and walk through the mist to cleanse or heal your aura.

Inhalation. Put up to 12 drops in a personal inhaler and inhale when you need the oils support. You can also place a couple of drops on a handkerchief to take with you or place under your pillow at night to help you sleep if you prefer.