Folks often ask me how long it takes to “return to normal” after someone they love has died. The reality is that you never “return to normal”, but you “define a new normal” because the life that you knew can never return. It takes time to work through grief and no two people will grieve the same…some folks get frustrated because they thought it would only take a short time to “get over it” only to find that their days are still like roller coasters and that weeks become months and months become years. So take your time.
Take time to accept the death: For the first while, it’s going to seem like a bad dream that you hope you will wake up from, but you don’t.
Take time to feel your pain: You have to go “through this” and not “around this”. It’s important to experience the emotions and to understand what this loss means to you.
Take time to make decisions: A general rule is not to make major decisions in the first year…tomorrow you may see things differently than you do today. If you must make a major decision, talk to someone you trust who can advise you.
Take time to share with others: You would be surprised with how successful support groups are. Maybe start with some 1:1 counselling and then move into a group setting. You’ll find that you are not alone.
Take time to forgive yourself: We live in a guilt ridden society and it’s not hard to find something to feel guilty about. Forgive yourself for the things you did or didn’t do, forgive yourself for the things that you said or didn’t say. And don’t forget to forgive the person who died too.
Take time to laugh: Laughter is a great medicine. You aren’t being disrespectful to the one who has died. Accept invitations to go out with friends and tell yourself that you are going to enjoy yourself as your loved one would want you to.
Take time to renew your vision of life: Eventually the healing will bring you to a place where you will begin to develop new dreams. Don’t resist this, but embrace it…healing is taking place for you.