Let’s talk about creating a “new normal” after a love one passes.
You may be trying to restore some peace and order after your loved one dies, but find yourself unable to get “back to normal.” No matter how much time has passed since your loss, “normal” might not be something you even remember how to feel. This post is about allowing yourself to feel vulnerable enough to accept that your life has been irreversibly altered, and therefore YOU have been changed by the loss of your loved one. If you can’t imagine returning to what you once thought was normal without that person’s presence, let’s explore how establishing a new normal, that makes room for your grief, can help you find peace and balance in your future.
Many people have this perception that, after grieving for an established amount of time, they are supposed to let go of their pain and sadness and “snap out of it.” This is simply not a realistic expectation to hold for yourself. However, it is important that we allow ourselves to go on living in the ways that we can. Step one is not to let go of grief, step one is to release ourselves from shame and guilt. These are the emotions that insidiously take over our consciousness and weigh us down. Shame and guilt are a hefty combination, and often accompany the death of someone we’re close to for a variety of reasons. It’s pivotal to examine the state of our soul, our heart, our aura—whatever you believe makes each of us individuals—and identify the poison that keeps us down and out of the race. Shame and guilt are two of those toxic influences, and must be removed if we are ever to establish the new normality of our future.
When you pluck out the thorns of shame and guilt that plug up your system, you will start to feel grief in a different way. The next step toward normalcy is about speaking what you need to live with the new kind of grief residing inside you. When we lose someone we love, that changes daily pieces of our lives. It is important to recognize what help, what comfort, and what support we need now, that we may not have needed before. Of course, recognizing those things is not enough, we need to communicate them to those people around us who are looking for opportunities to fill the empty spaces.
Once you’ve invited others into your life to fill the voids that can be filled, you’re ready to create new routines. Just like children, adults thrive on routine and sameness—especially when going through a crisis period. Let’s just admit that grief is a crisis and make a conscious effort to establish daily schedules and regular habits that keep us productive, healthy, and interacting with others. Someday, when you least expect it, you’ll be taking out the trash or typing a blog post (maybe even like this one), and you’ll realize that the grief animal inside you hasn’t made noise in a while. Perhaps, you’ll say to yourself, it’s shrunk to a more manageable size. A new, normal size, that you can handle and be happy, simultaneously.