Many people in mourning may have wrong perception about what “recovery” means.
As I have reiterated before in my previous posts.... I'm neither a Professional or a "KNOW IT ALL " .... I have been schooled in repetitive deep losses in my life and have developed a different objective point of view.. As always I post my thoughts not to be inflamatory but to facilitate thought on the subject. You decide on the information .. if it rings true within you or if it rubbish....
Just some my thoughts on the picking up the pieces after your loss of your loved one... over time I have studied many articles, and books on different subjects and have come up with my own objective train of thought on these subjects.. Please feel free to read on.
Grief is not the same as mourning, and you need to do more to cope with your loved one’s death than just express your feelings.
While many people use the terms grief and mourning interchangeably, they are different in meaning and their distinctions have important implications for you as a mourner. Grief is the process of experiencing your reactions to your loss. In contrast, mourning is what you do to cope with that loss being in your life. While mourning commences with your expression of your grief reactions, it then must include much more. This is because merely expressing feelings won’t accomplish what you need to do – which is to make the necessary internal and external changes to be able to incorporate that loss into your ongoing life and learn to live with it.
Mourning demands that over time you make a series of readjustments to cope with, compensate for, and adapt to your losses. To do so, you will have to re-orient yourself in terms of your relationship with your deceased loved one (you have to move from a here-and-now physical relationship to an abstract relationship), yourself (you must make the changes that the death has made necessary in your assumptive world and in your identity), and your being in the external world (you need to learn how to live healthfully in the new world without your loved one). Healthy mourning also means that you relearn the world in the absence of your loved one, and that you reconstruct meaning in your life in light of this death and what it has brought to you. For all of these reasons, merely expressing your grief, without undertaking the necessary changes to fit the loss into your life, is simply insufficient in coping with major loss.
A possible Suggestion is to ( Express your grief reactions, but recognize that there is more work to do.)
Over time, work to make the necessary readjustments in your relationship with your loved one, in yourself, and in your ways of being in the external world so that you can fit this loss into your life.
In our society, there is a curious social phenomenon. On the one hand, we have relationships with dead people all the time. We learn about dead people in history, are influenced by them in philosophy, and are moved by them in the arts. We celebrate holidays to remember them, dedicate building in their honor, and visit museums to see how they lived. In virtually all aspects of our lives, we are in a “relationship” with the dead. However, on the other hand we are told that we have to “get on with life” and “let go and put the past behind.” It seems that in Western society it is acceptable to have a relationship with a dead person as long as you didn’t know that individual personally. This is why you could be criticized for displaying a certain photograph of your departed loved one, but it is permissible to have Princess Diana’s face on a memorial plate hanging on your wall. Clearly, there is a double standard.
You do not have to forget the person you loved and lost. To be a healthy mourner does not mean that you have to cut all ties to your departed loved one. The ties that must be cut, over time, are those that had attached you to your loved one when he/she was alive, and that are of the type for connecting living persons to one another. For instance, it is not appropriate for you to continuously expect that your deceased loved one will take care of you now as he/she did in the past. You can have a healthy connection with your loved one, even though that person has died, as long as that connection is one that: (1) truly recognizes the reality of your loved one’s death and what its implications are for you; and (2) does not keep you from moving forward adaptively in your new life.
There are innumerable ways to have healthy connections with your lost loved one as long as they meet these two criteria. Some examples include: talking about that person; acting on their concerns and values; thinking about him/her; considering his/her feelings and perspectives on matters when actions are necessary; appropriate identification with your loved one; using tangible objects (such as photographs, videos, mementos, articles of clothing, prized possessions, or jewelry) to be a symbolic mark of his/her existence in your life; praying to your loved one; actively recalling memories; enjoying and appreciating life because of having known and loved him/her; and undertaking actions to make sure that he/she is remembered and/or that something meaningful comes out of their death.
My suggestion is Try discovering ways that are healthy and personally meaningful to you in which you can maintain appropriate connections with your loved one, recognizing that others may think this unhealthy.
If it is important for you, look for ways to take courses of action that can constructively keep your loved one’s memory alive socially.
Even if you grieve and mourn in the healthiest ways possible, there will always be an emotional scar that marks the loss of your loved one. Learning to live healthfully with that scar is the very best that a mourner can expect. Like physical scars, the scar of your loved one’s loss reveals that there has been an injury, but does not have to interfere with current functioning. Also, like physical scars, on some occasions there can be pain (for instance, if you bang the scar or the weather is bad), but in general it does not ache or throb.
“Recovery” after the death of a loved one must be put in quotes to illustrate that it is a relative term. It does not mean a once-and-for-all closure in which you complete your mourning and it never surfaces again. There will be numerous times throughout your life when you experience the reactions of grief we all face, and these can be appropriate and expectable. Closure is for business deals and bank accounts. It is not for major loss, where the heart and mind typically reflect the notion of forgetting our loved one, and seek ultimately to learn how to live with our loss and adjust our lives accordingly in the absence of the person who is gone, but remembered. This does not mean that you would have chosen this loss or that you had been unmoved by it, only that you no longer have to fight it. You take it in the sense of learning to live with it as an inescapable fact of your life. Like many mourners, you can determine to make something good come out of your loss. This is another way to make a positive meaning out of what had been a negative event.
My Advice Suggestively is Try looking for specific ways in which you can transcend this event. (In other words, work to make something good happen out of it.)
Ultimately, healthfully integrating this loss and its effects upon you into your life story, but try to make it one chapter – perhaps the biggest and most profound – but not the whole book, as it can be when your loss initially happens. We are all meant for bigger things in this life( Those of Us Left Behind here on Earth.) Our life story may have changed course but it is far from over for us....
Thank you for taking time to read my thoughts
I wish you peace.
Good morning Cal,
Just finished reading your post and found it to be very profound and very co write is so comforting. For me everything is still very new and raw and still going through alot of down feelings and denial and guilt but what you write is so true. I am going to print it out and keep it close and read often. All your words have really helped over the last few months.
Thank you for all your words.
Hello Cal, just read your post, thank you , could the connection that we have on this forum be as something good out of something bad? and and we weep for and with one-another, each of our losses of loves has lead us here and now we are helping each other? None of us know each other and yet we feel empathy for one-another.In helping someone else, we ourselves are helped.
Hello Sheryl and Chrissie...
Thank you for your kind comments on my post..
Yes... helping others through your tragic experience is turning a Catalclysmic event in your own life.. Is finding the good in the bad.. Helping.. relating.. speaking.. consoling others who have suffered and lost as you have is also a way of helping yourself heal.. bit by bit.. piece by piece.. though it may not seem like it immediately it is slowly healing your soul and your heart.. When you reach out and connect with anothers pain.. They know they are not alone in their loss... as I have written in my past posts.. When we are hit with a huge loss of a loved one in our life.. we are blindsided by an unrealistic reality that causes us to fall into our pain and misery.. Which in itself is all encompassing at the time.. I think this is where Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was wanting to define for simplicity sake.. how the grief process is supposed to go with 5 definable stages in the process.. But Grief in itself being inheirently different in everyone it hits does not follow such preset patterns so easily.
Sheryl.. Chrissie.. I have read both of your compassionate posts through out the forum.. And I just wanted to say thank you to you both...
Even as you both are suffering with your own personal great loss of your beloved husbands you still are able to rise above the pain and help those newly bereaved people who are joining the forum..
This is something very special that will help you more than you know with your own grief as I discussed before.. Helping others when your are deeply hurting yourself is an extremely positive thing.. as is compassion.. empathy.. understanding...love... that will help to heal your broken heart as it gives hope to others in their pain and misery..
bump up for a re-read
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