“I am just not ready to heal, I am stuck in my grief, I do not want to move on, I want my old life back.” These are the words of a widow who joined group therapy because she knew she couldn’t stay in her grief forever. And yet she wasn’t ready to let it go. Many who are experiencing grief over the death of a loved one hate the way they feel, but they still fear not having those feelings.
When a parent, spouse or child dies, the effect is immediate and long lasting. Everything changes. There will never be another moment that goes by that will not be altered by the death of someone so significant. The pain is inevitable and for many it seems to never end. As time passes the way we experience grief often changes. Once you cried at every missed opportunity to have that person in your life. Doing anything at all feels like a chore because the motivation to continue is lacking. Even smiling is hard. At some point you learn to smile again even if it is rare. The space between thinking about the pain of your loss grows. For many as days, months and years go by you find ways to remember your loved one but you continue on.
When You Can’t Let Go of Grief
Just like the woman in my story, some of you just can’t let go of grief because it feels like you are letting go of the person. Letting go evokes feelings of fear because you think that if you do not have intense pain over them being gone, you do not miss them. The pain of grief is gut wrenching, but then so does the anticipation of not having grief over someone so loved. Or it may seem that way.
How to Begin the Process
First, if you struggle to move through the grieving process “as you should,” know that there is no right way to go through the process. It varies from person to person. Stop and think to yourself: What am I holding on to? What am I actually afraid of? Remember that feeling grief is a result of having deeply loved someone. Once the pain subsides it does not mean the person is loved any less. Wouldn’t they want you to live a fulfilling life?
It’s been said, “grief is just love with no place to go.” BUT, I challenge you to find a place to put that love and in the process it can change the pain. Grief never really goes away entirely and really it shouldn’t. You will always miss them, you will always remember them.
Be There For Others
Try to change your mindset. Feel the pain. Cry when you need to. Yell when you need do. It doesn’t matter if it’s been one month or 20 years you may still need to express intense grief. But as you live life every day, remember the things you loved about the deceased and be that type of person for others. Think about all the things that you are missing from them and choose to be that for others. Love others well, send them notes, buy them flowers. Do all that you do in honor of your loved one. Surely they will look down on you and know they were truly loved by you because of the way you live your life.
For more information on Bakken Young Funeral Home’s grief resources, click here.