As the pain of bereavement starts to fade – not away – but to a manageable level, you may feel yourself “coming back to life”. You’ll notice yourself feeling more and more like your pre-bereavement self. You’ll laugh more and your heart will seem less heavy. It doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten your loved one, or stopped caring. It means you’ve been through the bereavement process and are now coming out the other side.
You will still miss your loved one terribly, and of course, wish they hadn’t died. But you will have accepted that as a reality and come to terms with your loss to such an extent that it doesnt crush you the way it once did. Now when you see photos of your loved one, or reminisce with friends, or other family members, it no longer cuts like a knife. Now you reminisce with a smile and warm glow. and a new found gratitude for the time you shared, no matter how prematurely it ended.
You will now be returning to a normal way of life, doing and enjoying the things you did before your bereavement. You will now be able to think about other things. Your thoughts will not be consumed with grief, loss and sadness. You may once again start thinking about the future.
For those who’ve lost a partner / wife / husband, this could mean thinking about the possibility of a new relationship. Such thoughts, whilst exciting – the beginning of a new chapter in your life, might also give rise to feelings of guilt, a belief that you are somehow being disloyal to your deceased partner. Whilst not particularly helpful, such thoughts are quite normal. Just take things slowly and open your heart, and mind, to the possibility of being happy again. Everyone deserves to be happy.
Just as there is no right on wrong way to grieve, similarly there is no right or wrong way to move on… Everyone’s circumstances are different. My advice is to trust your instincts. And only move at a pace you’re comfortable with.
Remember there is no standardised time frame when it comes to the grieving process. There is no formula; no right or wrong. As I always say: You just have to live it.
For help and support:
Cruse Bereavement Care
National charity set up to offer free, confidential help to bereaved people. Cruse produces booklets on coping with grief which you can buy on-line.