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There are so many events humans grieve for, some intensely personal and others that touch many; none are as profound as the death of a loved one. The very word indicates a final ending; goodbye, forever. Until this event has touched your life it is nearly impossible to understand how many places in our lives it changes. When it has, it is impossible to forget how far-reaching a single event can be.
Initially it is a gaping, weeping wound, raw and unbearably painful. If the passage of time is healing we are left with a large scar we are always profoundly aware of. Something important has concluded and we are left with no real idea how to begin again. There is no question that we cannot return to what was and even some guilt if we imagine a new tomorrow without the pain. The void is as real as the pain. Holding on to what was causes the pain, liking tearing away the scar on a wound that is trying to heal.
Establishing a new normal is a deeply personal challenge. When you are feeling a loss the very best anyone can do is understand your pain. No one can determine your new normal but you who is the most affected by the event. How can you start over? Your new normal is determined by the empty spaces left in the wake of your loss. Every time you encounter one, make note of it no matter how insignificant it may seem. Why are you doing this? It is necessary to know where the voids are to begin to fill them. Losing a loved one leaves a void, an empty space. Your new normal is created by how and what you fill those spaces with. Blank spaces are healing places that need to be addressed.
What are typical blank spaces? Companionship, friendship, loving, caring and sharing a goal lead the list. Biting at the heels are finances, final expenses, new decisions you must make alone, living arrangements and old friendships that may feel uncomfortable now. The list is much longer but this is likely to be the glaring blanks in the beginning. Each of these must be filled in with a new arrangement. As harsh as it sounds, it is necessary and a part of the healing process. It is the hard part of accepting that you are alive and someone you love is not any longer. When the shock and horror recede the mundane everyday tasks will confront you almost on a daily basis. It is akin to anesthesia wearing off after a really painful surgery. Getting up and doing what is necessary moves you through the recovery process.
Picking up the pieces may really mean filling in the spaces. When you do you will have created your new normal.