How does the word “authentic” relate to grief?
The same as it does in any relationship, including the one you have with yourself.
Are you being honest about how you feel after the loss of a loved one? Are you taking good enough care of yourself? Are you listening to others’ opinions over your own intuition on what’s best for you? Are you open to new things that might help you heal?
Are you choosing to heal?
I’ve lost three children, a 30-year marriage, and the sight in my right eye. Each time, I had to choose to heal . . . and move on. Once the process was so bad, I attempted suicide. Not successful, thankfully, but it made me realize that I had a choice to make! I chose to stay alive and do the work to heal, one day at a time, for myself and for my remaining son. It was so worth it. My life is happy again and I look forward to each new day and to my future.
Through my nonprofit organizations, I support hundreds of families to find a new normal after the loss of a child or other acute grief. Sometimes, family members seem to want to stay in the pain, to focus on the loss. They feel guilty if they start to feel better. Is that what their departed children or loved ones want? Is that what remaining family and friends want? I don’t think so. You help those who surround you when you help yourself. And when we choose to heal, we honor our departed loved ones.
Healing is not easy. It is not quick. Recognize that each of our grief journeys is unique. Give others the space and freedom they deserve to heal in their own way. Try various approaches, new things. See what works for you.
Advice from others may be well-meaning, but don’t let it override what your gut is telling you that you need. Be open to forgive, including yourself. Most of us are doing the best we can at the time.
Try to focus on the love you shared and the positive memories. It lightens your energy, allows you to attract better things into your life, and makes it easier for your loved ones to connect with you. Being well is what they want for us. They are still with us in spirit. Sometimes you can feel them if you get enough quiet time and focus on the love between you. Try it! Be well.