We live most of our normal lives in a place that is comfortable to us and have to stretch to do, say, and take action on something that is outside of the realm of comfort. When grieving the loss of a loved one, that place of comfort is distorted as now we must move into a new normal… a place where the old isn’t even familiar any longer. How is that even possible?
We know that the emotions of grief are natural and normal, albeit nowhere near comfortable. The pain is one that you wish on no one and the question of “why” goes unanswered. As you acknowledge that what you are feeling is a necessary part of your grief journey, or the grief work, you will be better able to stretch yourself and take baby steps to move forward. To do so, you must allow yourself to take risks. We’ve all heard the familiar sayings, “This too shall pass” and “the dawn always appears.” Although seemingly meaningless and difficult to accept, both statements are correct.
In most cases, what keeps us stuck in our comfort zone of grief is fear. We fear the future without our loved one. Fear will keep you stuck in denial of the reality of your new life going forward, and can even lead to unhealthy physical and emotional conditions. You don’t have to know how things will work out, but you do have to take action. Here are a few suggestions to help you stretch:
• Know that you have an obligation to live your life to the fullest, so make a decision to do one thing today to make your new life begin to flourish, (i.e., visit the senior center, call another person who is grieving, have a cup of coffee with a friend, do something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did, etc.)
• Whatever your faith or belief, tap into it for the strength to forge ahead. Know that fear and faith can’t reside in the same house, so you must choose one or the other. I often call on the scripture, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” to destroy any impending fearful or doubtful situation.
• Meditation is an effective tool to use prior to taking necessary steps outside of the comfort zone. Finding that inner place of peace and comfort will provide assurance that you can move forward with confidence and love… remembering to love yourself as you cherish the memories of your dear loved one.
As you step outside of the comfort zone of grief, be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself. Take advantage of your support group, spiritual advisor, grief counselor or coach to walk with you through it and hold you accountable.