After the funeral – looking after yourself
After a death you walk a road to recovery. Regardless of the previous losses in your life, it’s not a road you have walked before. It can be a very slow process, one which is extremely painful. Every death in our life is a wake up call to get us to live more fully and more in the present. I don’t like the terminology ‘moving on’ but I do think you need to believe you are getting back to some type of ‘new normal’, whatever ‘normal’ might mean for you.
I become concerned when people think ‘you just have to move on with life’. Move on? Move on to what, or where, exactly? Some people think that after a certain time, say a year, that everything should be better.
Most grieving people would probably resent the expectation that they and their families should just move on. However, I do believe that it is never too soon to address your grief and make a start on your path to recovery. Loss is an inevitable part of being a human being, and ultimately our choice is either to remain in pain and suffering or to learn how to use the experience to develop a richer and more fulfilling life. Grief and loss can be our biggest teachers in life. They certainly have taught me much about who I truly am.
From my own experience and working with grieving families for over twenty years, I think it’s about learning how to manage and adapt after your life has been turned upside down. Most of us like to feel in control of our life and when you lose that control it can be difficult to live fully, with any sense of purpose. Sometimes it is unbelievably difficult to adapt to the painful reality of the death of someone important to you. Of course things will never be the same without that person but you can learn how to manage your life and how to adapt without having that person by your side in an everyday sense. And sometimes time does not heal at all. You just want it all back the way it was.