Embracing Change after Loss

After losing my husband I came to a slow realization that a change was coming. I began to see subtle and dramatic changes in my personality and my sensibilities as I recovered from my loss. I was becoming less patient and intolerant of many things I had previously been okay with,and I was beginning to view the world though a new lens.As I began to grieve,I found myself developing a more heightened sense of awareness of everything around me.All this occurred while I was trying to make sense of everything and as I continued to struggle with feelings and emotions that I could not yet make sense of. I felt as if I was a square peg trying to fit back into my square hole, but I would soon learn that that was no longer possible.

This aspect of loss is part of what one experiences as he or she contends with fitting into the new world that they have been thrust into. I found that I became easily irritated by things that people would say and although I wouldn’t respond much, as this is my nature, I did distance myself as I dealt with my acute pain and sorrow. In my book Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse I’ve created a diagram that shows what one feels as they grieve. As one encounters the complicated feelings of grief after loss,one must take care not to allow the well meant but often misguided opinions and comments of others to affect them.Those around you do not know that within you there is a change taking place. Some may think that you are still the same person that you always were, and in time you will be back to your old self, but that is a fallacy. You will never be the same and you will never be back to your old self.You may also discover that certain foods or places you used to go or enjoy have suddenly lost their appeal. Various routines and daily activities may shift or become eliminated altogether as you begin to rebuild your life after loss.

After my husband died,I decided to change my home around.I did make changes that I felt would help me smudge the edges of my old life with my husband and assist in creating a new environment that would complement my new life,whatever that was going to be going forward. Out with the old and in with the new: kitchen reno, new floors, paint, bathroom reno, I did all of this and more as I embraced my life’s new landscape slowly but surely.

In past times,I was never a fan of violent films or violence and gore in the news, but I soon found that viewing unsettling news stories or seeing violent films would become intolerable for me. My husband loved Motown and R&B, our music from the 60’s and 70’s, but because of my memories, at least initially, I could not bear to listen to any of the music from that era, because we had loved and danced to it together.In fact a month or two before Chuck fell ill,we had just danced to my favorite Kool and the Gang song,Get Down on It,the  irony being that many,many years earlier we’d danced the night away to that song,at a country club in Westchester,NY.We’d only been seeing each other for a short while,but I knew he was the one.Little did I know that that dance would be the last time we would dance to any song ever again.

Chuck had a habit of having the television on practically every second of the day. The noise from the TV was a backdrop to our life. Because of his work, he was always analyzing stocks, checking the Dow and the Nasdaq and being a movie buff, he loved watching old movies, sometimes the same ones over and over again. After he died I no longer wanted a backdrop to my life via the TV.I found it to be a distraction from my thoughts and my desire to think about my life as I grieved and dove into uncharted waters.

After the loss of a loved one one’s life wil never be the same. The biggest challenge is dealing with the new emotions that one is being forced to face as well as dealing with friends and family who expect you to snap out of it and be your old self again. One might be tempted into rushing to get back to normal in order to give comfort to friends and family.Those around you are going to want you to be the familiar person that everyone is used to seeing and being around. But,what others in your life must learn is that those who experience loss are in a transitional state. They are in a nether world,betwixt and between the various stages that one goes through when they are grieving. As they go through those stages they will continue to grow and change.Those who grieve are trying to figure out why they’re not their old selves as they attempt to understand all the recent  events that have transpired in their lives.The feelings of loss are mixed in with the unpredictable feelings, emotions, and sensations that they’re experiencing as well as the uncertainty of their future.Oftentimes,and this is very real,those who are left will desire to follow their loved ones to the grave.The bereaved also have to contend with trying to re-create a new life from scratch.

For those who have experienced a loss,it’s important to be aware and recognize that your life is not the same and neither are you.As one begins to become familiar with and get a handle on their new situation,one will begin to be able to manage the highs and lows that occur out of the blue. If one sees the wave coming he or she can ride it until it settles so as not to get caught in the undertow.They will become more adept at doing this as time goes on.Eventually, they will also find that those waves will begin to diminish with time as long as they’re on a path of healing after loss. These stages will not happen on their own as one must do the work in order to be able to get through the pain of having lost a loved one.They may even have to step back from those around them so that others do not interfere with the grieving process. Be ready and be prepared for a wild ride but if you know or can anticipate what you will be going through,it will help to soften the blows a bit.Soon,as the pain of grief begins to fade,and it will, you will feel prepared to deal with new and uplifting feelings coming your way.You are becoming the master of you own fate.

Life is not for the fainthearted, when grieving, know the road ahead is tough, but things improve,I promise. Just make sure that you understand that you will have a variety of responses to many events and experiences as you begin to embrace the changes that come with loss.

I am no longer the person I used to be because of the loss of my husband and my subsequent grieving journey.However, I am stronger,wiser, more confident, more empathetic and more connected to my spirit than I was before. So, in a way, my loss ended up also being my gain. This is more than I would’ve hoped for at the beginning of my grief journey, and it is what I hope and wish for others as they embark on their own experience with grief. So remember,embrace the change, don’t be afraid if it, as it can lead to a new life that is richer, fuller and more abundant than before.This is what your lost spouse would truly wish for you.

 

Need help embracing  change? Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse  available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other e-booksellers.Or go to http://www.braveinanewworld.com Click on the book tab and order your copy today.Also catch me on Periscope as I talk about grief,recovery and beginning life anew.You can also read my blogs on She is Fierce…http://sheisfiercehq.com/contributors/yvonne-broady/ and LP214…. http://lp214.me/yvonne-broady

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