Healing Grief with Yoga

Mom Helps Others Heal After Loss of Son

Maggie Spaulding knew her life would be changed forever after her 27-year-old son died from an accidental overdose. The shock and grief from his loss was overwhelming at times.

“My husband and I struggled for months to accept and process the heavy emotions. Why him? Why not me? What could I have done? I had so many questions and no answers. I was not ready to give up on my relationship with my son,” said Spaulding.

She and her husband came to Alive for grief counseling, which provided an “emotional rescue.”

“We would not have known how to get through the first six months of the raw and heavy emotions or how to make it through the holidays. Grieving the loss of a child, no matter what their age, is a special situation. Our goal in working with a grief counselor was to get tools and guidance. That was exactly what the Alive counselor provided us in our one-on-one sessions,” she said.

During her process of healing, Maggie discovered that meditation and yoga helped her find peace when she was struggling just to get through each day.

“By opening my heart and mind to stillness and calmness, meditation allows me to listen and feel my son’s presence. I can truly say, I still have a relationship with my youngest son. It’s just a different form of communication.”

Maggie felt a strong desire to make something positive come to fruition as part of her healing. What blossomed was an offering to help others heal.

“The intensity of this grief was emotionally and physically heavy. It was so draining and felt like my heart was physically broken into pieces. But…deep inside of me, I knew something good was going to blossom from his passing.”

Three years later, Maggie once again has “peace, love, and joy” in her heart. She is sharing it with her community at the Brentwood Holy Family Catholic Church, where she teaches free yoga classes twice a week.
Her yoga and meditation practice has helped her “accept and process the physical and mental grief emotions and live in the present, without trying to change the past,” she says.

The classes are designed to provide a safe space for participants “to release emotions stored in the body’s cells and joints. It’s not uncommon to shed tears as you ‘release and let go’ any build-up of these heavy emotions,” Maggie says.

The classes are free, but she does accept donations for Alive if students want to contribute. To date she has raised more than $1,000 to help bring Alive’s support to others who need it.

Visit the website of the Holy Family Church in Brentwood for more information on her classes. Maggie also recently started a peer support group for parents who have lost children. Contact her at 5mspaulding@comcast.net. You can also listen to her November 21, 2018, interview with WPLN on their website: nashvillepublicradio.org

Complementary Therapies

Yoga and meditation and other therapies can provide greater comfort and ease for patients and caregivers. Alive offers several therapies to complement medical care:

  • Animals: Therapy pets are available to make visits to patients.
  • Music: We employ a music therapist, and volunteers regularly play music for our patients
  • Art: Patients and caregivers create therapeutic artwork with our skilled volunteers.
  • Relaxation/Massage: Licensed massage therapists provide gentle massage at patients’ homes as well as at our inpatient units. Healing touch and Reiki-certified volunteers may also be available to provide comfort-focused care.