There is no easy way through grief. There are no short cuts and there are no quick fixes. When you lose someone that you love you must acknowledge and express your feelings.
This is grief work, and if you hope to recover and heal, grief work cannot be avoided. In fact, it is precisely in the acknowledgment of your hurt and your overwhelming sense of loss and abandon that you will be able to navigate through your grief.
Having someone that you love die will leave you lost and shaken to the core. In response to your need and your hurt, you must remember the 3 R’s.
The three R’s are grief work.
First, you must Realize what has happened. Actually take in the loss and allow the reality of the death to sink in.
Secondly, you must Recognize what the loss of this person means for you.
After you realize what has taken place, you will begin to slowly take in or comprehend what is gone, what is left and what life really looks like for you now.
Finally, you will be able to Rebuild your life without the person who has died.
This won’t happen until you have realized that the person that you loved is gone and until you have sat in the daily pain and misery of being without them. You must take in the reality of what that means for you.
Only then can you even begin to consider a different tomorrow.
How you might ask? How do I rebuild and when will I know it’s time?
For every person this has a different flavor but knowing when it’s time to rebuild is a lot like knowing when you’re in love. There is no one answer, but anyone who has ever been in love knows when it comes along and is able to see when love is at hand.
Here are a few things to consider.
You may be ready to consider rebuilding your life when the thought of yesterday is not as powerful as the thought of today or tomorrow.
You may be ready to think about rebuilding your life when the pain has moved from the front row of your life to something closer to the seats at the back.
You may be ready to move on when you recognize that the relationship that is gone was in the past and does not exist in the present or the future.
By way of an example, I had a partner. I do not any longer.
You may be ready to rebuild when there is some hope in your head and your heart for something else. When there is something more than the hurt and the pain that you have been living day in and day out for the last many months.
There is no insult here to the person who has died.
I want you to understand that moving on is not ever about replacing the person who is gone. Rather it is about knowing that your life now has a path and a pattern without that person and without the acute pain that that person’s absence left you with.
Let me use the illness/accident analogy again.
If you have been in a car accident and experienced a physical and emotional trauma you will know when your body and your psyche are healed to the point of being able to move without crutches, bandages, assistance and medication.
You may try to do things that your body isn’t ready for, but you will be reminded very quickly, that you are not ready to undertake life without assistance.
The person who had a crushed arm in an auto accident, for instance, may never again throw a ball, but they may very well be able to use their arm in new and different ways.
So too with a crushed spirit, in time you will see yourself and the world around you very differently. In time you will respond with the knowledge of someone who has survived, wiser, more mature and moving ahead differently.
Do not rush your healing.
Many people who long to recover from the hurt of grief or the pain of any kind of serious life loss are tempted to rush their healing and readiness.
If you do not do your grief work, if you do not feel the hurt and sit in your painful mess understanding what is gone and what is left, you will find yourself in a hurried mess. If you do not seek to feel and comprehend what it all means and what it all feels like, you will never be able to move on.
Grief rushed through or ignored will only bring you to a place that isn’t ready and that will in time backfire.
Some leave the graveside and try to pick up immediately with someone new. Some act as though nothing happened. They only kid themselves, believing that a “short course” is possible. In no time, however, the new relationship or the new life with grief ignored will leave them empty and broken.
You simply cannot escape what you must do.
Once you have seen, felt, been part of, realized and recognized, then you will be able to rebuild and move on.
Rebuilding does not mean it’s all over, all better or all forgotten. It means rather that your pain and your life are manageable now and that you are ready for something else.
The third R is Rebuild. Rebuild your life without the person who has died.