Happy March! This is a month where we begin to see signs that spring is near and cold winters are behind us. This is my favorite time of year to sit in the sun, especially before the temperatures reach 100° F in Phoenix, AZ. We think of spring as a time of rebirth. But for those of us who are newly bereaved, we might find it darker and more frightening than ever before. Like the changing seasons, our grief is always moving, evolving, and transforming.
On February 4th, I lost another sister, my oldest sister Lois, my best friend, who passed unexpectedly from natural causes. I could not help comparing this loss to the loss of my younger brother, my younger sister, my friend Karen, mom and dad, and my son Eric. Each one of these provided a vastly unique experience of loss – some causing more pain than others. I found myself walking with heavy steps, hunched over, unsure of what had just happened in my life. I found myself wanting to isolate. I found myself wondering why and how this could have happened. I found myself in a state of shock and surrounded by that fog that we all feel when we lose someone dear to us. You can relate! What I have learned from my losses is that whatever I am feeling is okay, and it is normal!
It is okay to be in shock.
It is okay to feel numb.
It is okay to be in a fog.
It is okay to feel your world has just fallen apart.
In our work at EricsHouse, we help you understand there is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Intense grief may evoke many different feelings and emotions, but it cannot hurt you. And while you do experience deep pain and sorrow, you eventually learn to accept your loss, find hope in living, and move toward a new and different normal. Some things will remain the same, and some may change because life has changed. I encourage you to explore the unknown feelings of pain and sorrow and allow yourself to discover the ways in which your loss can transform you in positive and unexpected ways.
I often describe grief as the ocean. Learning about your feelings and how you experience your grief allows you to better prepare for its ebbs and flows. Remembering that your pain and sorrow are not constant and can sometimes be unpredictable will help you as you navigate through your process.
Finally, your experience of loss becomes a part of you because your loved one is forever a part of you. We all have different ideas about where our loved one goes when they leave this earth, but they are never gone because they ARE a part of you. They may not be physically here, but they are always with us in our hearts, in our memories and in spirit. We cannot touch them and hold them, but they are an important part of our life’s journey, a part of our past, present, and future.
As for my sister Lois, I wish she were here, and I know that over time I will accept that she left this earth, and I will remember that she lives on in my heart. I will remember her funny, wacky personality, her kindness and generosity, and the love that we shared as sisters. This will be my foundation for healing.