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Anitra Brown

Can Spas Help The Grief Process?

By January 22, 2013

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Anitra and Wesley BrownShortly after my brother, G. Wesley Brown, was killed by a stray bullet last summer, I bought a book called "The Truth About Grief." It was not at all what I was expecting, and not at all helpful. Mostly it was an attack on what the author calls "the grief industry." She claimed that most people get over it in about six months, with or without help.

After about three months I realized I did need help, and found a counselor. She's been very helpful, and the worst symptoms of the shock, trauma and grief are past. But I woke up January 15, 2013 -- six months plus one day -- and thought, "I'm still not over it."

I hadn't even realized that I had developed this expectation based on what I read in the the book. And on that day I decided to plan a trip to Canyon Ranch Lenox to see how they can help with the healing.

One thing I'd like to do is to get moving again. I just started going to local yoga classes, and I'd like to build on that beginning. I'd like to be cared for and nurtured with spa treatments. And I'd like to create a safe place to start writing some of my memories about my brother -- something I've wanted to do but haven't had the heart to begin.

Whenever I've gone to Canyon Ranch before, I've been excited, on an adventure, and an information junkie, who goes to as many lectures as possible. But this time I envision something quieter, more peaceful, perhaps a more interior journey. I'm going to start it with a couple of days at Cranwell, a resort spa in Lenox that is currently offering a "Serenity Sundays Internet Special" of $159 per room and 20% off spa treatments.

I see it as the perfect launching point for my three-night stay at Canyon Ranch Lenox. I'll have a travel day and some time to unwind at Cranwell, then I'll be able to move over to Canyon Ranch early in the morning to make the most of my first day there. It's been a while since I've visited these properties, and I'm looking forward to seeing what's new.

It's good to be looking forward to something.

Photo by Anitra Brown

January 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm
(1) Tina says:

Lovely article, and any creative process you choose (art, writing, music, dance) – will help to process your grief and help your spirit to heal. Same with yoga and meditation until you are ready to write.

January 23, 2013 at 10:37 pm
(2) Patricia says:

Six months must be like six days…

January 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm
(3) Marlene says:

You will never get over the loss of a loved one. You will learn to live with it. And that takes time. 6 months is not a long time. Write about it, talk about it with friends and loved ones. Treat yourself well and keep your head up, no matter how hard that seems.That helped me a lot when I lost a very important person in my life. Try to live your life in honor of your brother and live it to the fullest. Big hug from me

January 24, 2013 at 1:32 pm
(4) Marlene says:

PS: Great move to go to the Canyon Ranch!

January 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm
(5) Katy says:

Marlene is right. You don’t “get over” it. You assimilate it into your soul. It’s a process. Sending love.

January 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm
(6) Kate says:

To lose a loved one traumatically takes many years, for me decades, to heal from. And some therapy so that I could experience the reality of my therapist’s words to me : “Healing is real, Kate”.

January 29, 2013 at 5:38 pm
(7) Alexis Marnel says:

I lost my mother, who is/was the person who loved me most in the world in December of 2011. I did the same thing, 6 months after my mom died I went to a resort in Arizona whose treatments were based in Native American traditions and it helped me to see what other things I needed to do for myself as I make my way through the grieving process. Thank you so much for writing this article – I was happy to read a piece on spas and the grief process because spa treatments and home bath/salt/healing rituals have become a huge part of my healing.
Peace and Gratitude

January 30, 2013 at 2:14 pm
(8) Hilary says:

I have been following you for years, Anitra, and so enjoy your column. I am 47 and have lost two brothers, both unexpectedly, and felt the same sorrow you wrote about here. I wanted to let you know that your local hospice agency offers bereavement support groups and most are free and open to anyone who has endured loss regardless of whether they or their families were served by the hospice agency. I used to work in hospice and ironically moved 1500 miles away only to have my second brother, who passed just before this past Christmas, served by my former employer. I found that nurturing of the soul, fed by regular self care (massages in particular), were particularly healing. Being gentle with yourself is key. Please know that we each grieve differently and in our own time. How long it takes is how long it takes….for you.
In light and love, hilary

January 31, 2013 at 2:57 pm
(9) Anitra says:

Thanks so much to all of you. It is so touching to know that people you haven’t even met really care. This is the good side of having a horrible experience. You see how loving and compassionate people can be.

You inspired me to collect all this good advice in an article called “How Spas Help The Grief Process, in case others don’t see these comments.

Thank you from my heart, again.

February 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm
(10) JJL says:

The book sounds like a bunch of bunkum. Over it in 6 months for every loss? Talk about being part of the “grief industry”! SO sorry for your loss, and for having that expectation laid on you.

February 18, 2013 at 9:30 pm
(11) April says:

Anitra, I’ve only recently begun reading your column, mainly because I took on the additional responsibility of managing a day spa’s marketing. I lost my father to Parkinson’s. It wasn’t unexpected but it was painful nonetheless. You’re very brave to post about your journey through the grieving process, and I hope you find what you’re looking for from Canyon Ranch.

There’s a tremendous range of healing that’s facilitated through massage and pampering. I don’t think there’s ever any getting over the death of a loved one, but even with the pain, we have to carry on the business of life….somehow some way. Be patient, loving, gentle and compassionate with yourself. You’re going through a challenging time.

February 21, 2013 at 9:45 pm
(12) Baptism Jewelry for Girls and Boys says:

I’m glad that Google brought your site up for my search – it helped

Feel free to surf to my web page: Baptism Jewelry for Girls and Boys

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