Standing in Quick Sand
It can sometimes feel as though others are not sensitive to your feelings, or have even forgotten about your loss. You are still stuck in the emotions of grief and everyone else has returned to their daily routine of busyness and happiness. What do you do when ‘happy’ is all around you and you are standing in quick sand?
While coaching a client this morning, she described her feelings of “being in the trenches all alone.” That dark place where the sadness, pain, loneliness, and heartache reside. She felt as if every time she peeped outside the trench and into the light, everyone else was happy. She was uncomfortable venturing out into that place.
It is so true that when we experience the death of a loved one, the reality of death and the fragility of life are ever present; however, the many demands of our daily lives bring us back to the busyness that demands our attention, and the fragility of life fades to the background. These heightened emotions of life and death subside more quickly for those indirectly affected by the death.
To the bereaved person who has to return to an empty house, an empty chair at the table, or an empty bed, that busyness of daily life fades and the fragility of life takes priority. The emotions of loss are all-consuming and everything else, that used to be normal, fades to the background or simply disappears. Consequently, it is normal to think that everyone else is happy while one is sinking into the darkened quick sand.
The grief process, or grief work, is necessary to move beyond this state and begin to see the light. Staying stuck in that trench will delay the process and can lead to unhealthy habits.
Here are a few tips to help you move forward:
• Acknowledge that your emotions of grief are natural and normal, so you don’t have to suppress them. Don’t deny yourself these feelings, and know that it is okay to even shed a tear in public.
• Accept that this is your personal journey that only you can walk, and there is no rulebook to follow.
• Surround yourself with others that might also be in seemingly quick sand, or have experienced this feeling of darkness and loneliness.
• Join a grief support group (in-person or online). Talk to an empathetic, non-judgmental friend, spiritual advisor, counselor, therapist, or grief coach.
• Know that this is a process and you must go through to get through.
• Begin with taking baby steps. As you embrace your new life going forward, you will find that place of happiness.
What are you grateful for today?