Just about the time you think you’re fine and you can move on, another wave of grief washes over you and you must try to stand up again. I think of it exactly like that – picturing in my mind a small child that has no idea that the wave approaching on the beach is going to knock her down, tumbling her until it deposits her on the sand above, hopefully. There’s always the chance that the defenseless toddler will be swept out to sea. The same possibility exists for grownups when faced with the sorrow of losing someone or something.
I lost my father in July, which I’ve talked about a couple of times since and some may be getting a little tired of hearing about it. However, my reason for writing this is to help others who find themselves on the wrong side of loss. You see, my most painful periods of anguish have come to me in the loss of my husband, my father and my business. I’m sure some of you are shocked that my business would rate up there with two of the most important people in my life, but loss is loss. The process is the same. And sometimes it has a cumulative effect.
For instance, when I fell apart after losing my small business, a great deal of that reaction was because it happened just a few years after the love of my life passed away. All the pain of the first bereavement came back full force as my business had been intended for me to move on; to have a new passion in my life.
Here’s what a very close friend told me at the time of my husband’s death – “Give yourself time to heal.” Sounds so simple doesn’t it? But I resisted the advice thinking to myself, “Get over it already.” Now I sense the disturbance in members of my family that they are having a tough time recovering and for years have been listening to others beat themselves up over their paralysis in the face of misfortune.
I think we live in a society that so dislikes pain that we will avoid facing it at all costs; but in reality, wouldn’t it be absolutely awful if we DID just get over it? I mean, 16 years of marriage (in my case) and 62 years (in my mother’s case) to be forgotten in a month? Hmmm… Or all the hopes, dreams, financial and time investment in a new venture to simply become history in the snap of a finger? No, no… that’s not the right way, not the sensible way and definitely not the human way.
I think my friend was absolutely right. Give yourself enough time to heal. I’m not saying we should wallow in our grief, because it truly does bite if nothing else, but instead be kind to yourself. Let the process be natural. Don’t force moving on. Give the past and loved ones their due. And when you are truly ready, step into the future, carrying wonderful memories in your heart.
Thank you, Geri, for those kind words all those years ago.