When will it get better?
This is a question I have been asked countless times while working in the grief industry. Our society wants fast, immediate results; that is the world we live in. One-day shipping or curbside pick-up shortly after placing an online order.
So, when we experience a death, why wouldn’t we expect those same results? A precise plan or a timeline on how things will go. An itinerary or program of events laid out, so we know how to plan a future without our person no longer physically here.
Grief is a hard concept to put into terms of a timeline in that way. Grief is something we need to feel. It may not be fun, but it is necessary. How this looks and the timing of it depends on many things. It depends on who that person was to you, how much they impacted your life, how they died, how they impacted the lives of your friends and family, how your everyday has been changed. It also depends on how much grace we give ourselves to feel the feelings we need to in order to go through that grieving process. From someone who often does not like to “feel my feelings”, that does not sound fun to me.
You might be thinking, Well then, what are some things I can do to help this “grief” process work its magic and get back to my normal life again?
Well, first, let's talk about "normal". Once someone in our live dies, our world is changed forever. Getting back to “normal” may not ever happen again. If it was “normal” to have mom call you every day at 8:00 to discuss Jeopardy! and she dies, how can that be normal again? If it is “normal” for you to take your son to soccer every Tuesday at 5:00 and he dies, how can that be normal again?
Things may change and time and energy might be spent a little differently now — that is okay! What we like to say (and this phrase has become way more popular in 2020) is we now live with a “new normal”. Things may not be exactly how they were before the death, but we need to embrace the new traditions and routines. We need to cry when we want to cry, be mad when we feel mad, and find love and support from others.
So, I guess the short answer is that grief can take many forms. It may not feel good and it can be very difficult. It can feel scary, empty, or discouraging. But, one of the best things you can do is find people to connect to whether that is your family, friends, a support group, or counselor. Soon enough, you will have little victories. You might make it through a whole day of work without crying. You may make dinner for the first time verses picking up takeout. Each little victory is a step. It is growth. You are becoming stronger.
You will always miss your loved one, but YOU can live again.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Erin’s House is here to support our community through their grief. If you are in need of resources or support, please reach out to us to speak with a Child Grief Specialist: Info@ErinsHouse.org or 260.423.2466.
Written by: Emily Mock, HS-BCP, CTP-C | Family Support Coordinator