4 Questions You Need To Grapple With As Your Grief Matures

It is a strange concept. The idea that grief matures.

Usually it is described in other ways such as time passing, or moving on from the acute grief phase and so on. But as I thought about what I was writing today the word matures popped into my head.

When you think about it, matures is a good word to describe what happens to your grief as time passes.

You do eventually find yourself learning to live with the absence of the person you loved who is gone. You start getting interested in participating in life again. The pain you felt early on transforms into something less acute, still there, just not as sharp.

It takes time. A long time.

So I Think They Aren’t Coming Back

That is bigger than you think. That moment when your head knowledge that they are not coming back is joined by that deep seated belief that they aren’t coming back.

You may not have reached that point yet. You may think it sounds crazy. But when you think about it there is a gap between knowing someone is not coming back and believing it.

Their Loss Is With Me Constantly

Many people tell me that their loss is always with them. The knowledge that this person is not with them. This is particularly obvious when doing something you may have formerly done with the person who is gone.

I remember that feeling. I also remember that over time it stopped hurting so much. And that is what other people tell me as well.

One person I saw told me that they likened their grief to a tape playing over and over in their head. Missing Fred, missing Fred, missing Fred, missing Fred. They were grieving the death of their husband of 40 years. They worked together so every moment of the day was in each other’s company. Missing Fred was the one constant in life. No matter what they did, Fred was always not there.

Why Bother With Life?

Initially many people find their biggest issues are about getting out of bed and going through the motions of the day.

Then they reach a point where they realise life goes on and they can’t make it stop. There is no choice but to move forward in life.

As each day comes, the previous day recedes into the past. What was yesterday quickly becomes last week. Last week quickly becomes last Month and so on.

Life’s forward progression is relentless. At first you were bereaved last week, then last month, then months ago, then last year, then years ago.

It is sad, but an inescapable fact of life. The one you loved becomes part of your past, not your present. Your choice is to keep going or give up. Most people find that keeping going, even when it feels hard to do, is what they do.

Question 1 Who am I, now?

The first question you are likely to grapple with is the big question of who you are now that the person who was part of your life is no longer there.

You are defined by the ones you love. You are defined by the relationships you have. When an important relationship is gone, who are you?

Question 2 What Do I Do Now?

You may continue to do the same things the two of you did or you may choose to do different things.

When making that decision you need to decide if you did something purely because the person you loved did that or you did it because you loved doing it too.

Do you still want to do that thing? Has it lost its meaning now the one you loved is not doing it with you?

Do you want to do new things? Maybe you never did them because you didn’t have time. Maybe now you decide to drop old things and do new things.

Question 3 How Do Other People Fit Into My Life Now?

Many people who lose a partner find their couple friends no longer hang out with them. You are no longer a couple. That is hard to fit in to couple friendships.

You may find you hang out more with other friends.

You may also find you work to make new friendships.

You may also decide you want a different social life. Maybe you want to do completely different things (hence new friends) or go out more or less than you used to.

All these relationships are open to you. It is a different way of being and whatever you do there will be changes.

Question 4 What Next?

What do you do now? What new future are you going to make? You can’t keep the old one with your loved one in it. So what will your new future look like?

You have an opportunity to have a whole new life. Bit first you need to stop and think about what you really want to do.

You have a new freedom. You may find that exhilarating, terrifying or a bit of both.

Allow yourself time to dream and imagine what your life could be. Try things out. If they don’t work you can just move on to try something else.

You have been given an opportunity to change your life. Don’t be frightened to take that breathe of courage and try new things.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

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