The idea that grief “shrinks” in time is a misconception.
It doesn’t. Instead, we learn to live with it and grow around our own grief. The pain we feel after the loss of a loved one is something unique to each sufferer, but growing with grief is possible.
Grief is personal
There are many variables eg. how close you were to the loved one. Was it an elderly relative, a child or a partner? It’s the size of the void left in your life that makes the difference.
Grief can feel like part of your identity
Grief is love; love that’s lost its physical direction. That is not something that you can simply forget because you will always love the one that is missing from your life. Carrying grief can be heavy until it begins to feel comfortable. It’s part of who you are and what you feel. Knowing that you can grow with grief and making peace with that is important.
The three main aspects of grief are physical, emotional and mental.
Grief is present in every aspect of your life. It can feel like a physical ache in your chest and throat, especially if it happened unexpectedly. Emotions are in turmoil and mental health takes a tumble. Your body is under immense stress and now is the time to take care of yourself.
It’s important to understand that grief does not shrink over time.
In fact, it may grow or change. If we believe it will shrink in time we begin to question if there is something wrong with us. We need to learn how to cope with it in the best way possible. For some, that means taking time out to rest and recover from the shock. For others, it means reaching out and talking it through. Our own unique personality will dictate what we need to heal.
Growing around grief
Here’s the thing, you will survive and actually grow even though you may feel like life is over. In the past five years, I have personally found that the sorrow remains but I have grown so much that it has allowed a lot more space to surround my grief. There is no doubt I have changed, life will never be the same but that isn’t always a bad thing. It’s not something I would ever have imagined could happen but then again grief is not as I imagined either.
One day at a time
Take each day as it comes; don’t allow others to place expectations on you. They most likely have no idea what you are going through. How long it takes is up to you as long as you are aware of moving forward, even in a small way. It was twenty months before I felt a change. Some said I was “stuck” in grief and I must say that did worry me, but as time has unfolded I have realised I needed the space and time. Growing with grief is a process so trust your gut and your instincts.
Grief changes your world in ways you never before imagined
Finding something motivating to do is a great idea to help with grief. I wrote a book using the writings of my son. I finished a mission that he started and that held my focus and provided a place for my love to go. Starting a charity is another idea. Grief is love with no place to go and so in the early stages in particular it is good to have a focus that encompasses the love you have in your heart. Reaching out, putting into place your plans leads to openings you never imagined. You grow around your grief and that’s something your loved one would want.