Recently in a grief support group that I facilitate one of the members mentioned that he used to stop by his wife’s grave every night on his way home from work. He added that for the past few weeks he has started to visit her grave only a few days a week. In refection he said, “I don’t know what that means. Does it mean that I’m callous? I don’t feel that I am and that certainly isn’t my intention. I know that I still love her and don’t mean any disrespect, but sometimes I don’t feel like it’s necessary for me to stop so I continue home. I wonder if there will be a time that I will stop visiting her grave all together? Is that wrong of me if I do?”
The answer is no. As time goes on after we’ve lost a loved one the symptoms of grief begin to lighten. Where one may have cried every day in the early weeks and months, those strong emotional reactions flood our senses less often as we adjust to life without our special someone. It’s not an easy adjustment to make and often times not expected or prepared for, but it is something that must be faced and dealt with in your own time and manner. We will always carry some form of grief and that is ok, actually it is a testament to our love and respect for that loved one. Over time our grief becomes more manageable. In the early months of grief people are often experiencing some degree of shock or denial which puts them in “survival mode.” During this time we’re faced with making huge decisions about things we may have never had to deal with before. It is a stressful and emotional time.
There is an elusive distance between the paths of the living and the deceased. As you are adjusting to life without your partner, friend, parent or sibling your humanness will begin to draw you back into a new world with new roles and new opportunities. You may not have asked for this change, but it is inevitable. In fact, you will begin to seek the change that you have been directed towards. The transition may take place while you’re working hard in “survival mode” dealing with the unexpected and unknown, or it may happen more discreetly as you continually make the needed changes in your life. Be careful not to judge yourself by an inhumane standard.Life goes on and as it has changed so must you.