I’ve found myself ruminating more than usual on the subject of mortality in the past years due to sad circumstances that have touched my life and the lives of my clients.
It’s confusing and heart wrenching to wrap ones mind around the idea of someone you love no longer existing. It takes time and effort to work through this, to process the memories and associated feelings, with the eventual goal of acceptance, peace and connectedness to the deceased.
Processing the pain of grief is an essential step through the grief process. This means acknowledging and working through the vast array of emotions that can be associated with losing a loved one – sadness, anger, shame, disappointment, anxiety, guilt, joy, relief, etc. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how one feels about the loss of a loved one. All feelings are valid and real. Numbness is a very common “feeling”. Experiencing numbness acts as a protective measure – it protects us from becoming completely overwhelmed by the intense emotions that might bury us if we allow ourselves to feel them all at once. Depending on the relationship with the loved one and the nature of the death, it can take months to years to feel one has come up close to the emotions. Give yourself time. Be generous and patient with yourself. There will come a point when it will be important to learn to adjust to a world without your loved one (external, internal, spiritual adjustments). I say “learn” because, depending on the relationship and level of intimacy, it can feel like learning to live again. One is forever changed by the loss of a loved one; identity and purpose are reevaluated and adjustments are made accordingly. Eventually, the goal is to find an enduring connection with the loved one in the midst of embarking on a new life. This can be the hardest task of all for one to comprehend or even believe is possible. But it is possible. With support and time, it is possible.