My grief journey
“Tomorrow I look at 3 years without my mother. That’s 1,095 days. How is that possible?
It was only last week that I wanted to send her pictures of her grandkids’ first day of school without even skipping a beat. Staring at my mother’s contact on my phone that still stores my most precious messages from her, and realizing that this number was given away long ago to someone else.
How can it be so long since I heard his voice, but it still feels like yesterday? It doesn’t even seem real yet that she isn’t there anymore. When my mind reminds my heart of that everyday, I’m still knocked back in that wave of reality that she’s gone. It’s not like in the beginning, where the waves came every few minutes that I didn’t have time to get a foothold. At that point, I couldn’t even get it out of my head before the next one came crashing down on me. But at 3 years old, it catches up with me when I least expect it. Like in the card aisle at Target, when I catch Mom cards in my peripheral vision. And these waves have had time to gain height and traction. It knocks me to my knees without warning.
11 lessons of grief
After 3 years, I learned a variety of lessons. It’s all about trial and error. We don’t learn to live without the people we love. It took me a while to build the things that work (1,095 days to be exact). I hope this can help people who are just starting out on this journey.
1. Embrace the grief
Yes. She wants me to be happy, but grieving is essential to healing. Feeling all those gross emotions is part of the process. I didn’t disappoint her because she was sad, because I needed it. Grief will always catch up with you, because it has to be felt.
2. Relationships change
When tragedy strikes, you know who’s really there for you. Sometimes they are the least expected.
3. Personal change is unavoidable
I also changed. This one is inevitable. When you learn how life can change between heartbeats, you also learn to let go of things that are insignificant and no longer make sense.
4. Your loved one is not completely gone
She’s with me. At first, I would hate to hear that from others. “She is always with you. What does it mean?? When everything was physical before this point, you cannot understand this. Still. But over the past 3 years, I’ve seen so many signs of her that it’s undeniable. I just have this feeling that she’s closer than I can imagine.
5. Moving forward is fine
I don’t leave her behind as I move forward. For the first few months, I was paralyzed by the thought of trying to heal from my grief. I had to learn to put it into perspective. My mother had hopes and dreams for me. I know none of them included being stuck in a state of devastation. I started thinking about how she would encourage me in her own voice. I can hear it more often now with practice. My mantra is that each day I move on and live a life that would make her smile…one day closer to seeing her again. It gives me the determination to put one foot in front of the other, even on the worst days.
6. Ask for help when needed
Contact us if you need it. There are wonderful groups and counselors who are ready to help you. You can find solace and solace in the grieving community. I lead one at church and I can absolutely see the healing happening over the weeks.
7. Support yourself
Be your best friend. You are the only one who really knows how this loss feels. Your relationship was unique. Don’t compare yourself to how others feel, because it wasn’t the same connection. Practice self-care. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend who is going through the same thing.
8. Healing is not linear
Having a bad day or a bad week doesn’t mean you’re backing down. In grief, you will encounter minefields along the way. These trigger when you least expect them, especially during holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. Mine are blowing up a lot this week. This is normal for the course.
9. Don’t Dwell on Words
People want to do well. They want you to feel better, but when you’re in pain and very sensitive, words sometimes seem insincere. Try not to read too much into it. When people haven’t been in your situation before, it’s hard to find the best words.
10. Moderate isolation is okay
It’s okay to isolate yourself, but don’t isolate it too much. I know it’s hard to identify with a world that keeps spinning, seeing people laugh and when small talk is exhausting. Just be sure to leave the door open for your support system to watch you.
11. Take them with you
Look at their pictures. Cook their recipes. Weave them in and out of your daily life. Someone who is always on your mind and your heart will always be with you. Still.”
This story was submitted tolove what mattersby Kristie Reitz. You can follow his journey on Facebook. Submit your own storyhere, and make sure tosubscribe to our free email newsletter for our top stories, andYoutube for our best videos.
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