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Living After Loss: A Step-by-Step Guide

10 months ago

You are probably grieving now. We were once there too!

It’s hard to jump back in the zone – and because we respect you, we’ll tell you the truth: it will stink for a while. You may find yourself agitated at things you that never bothered you, or you may realize the activities you participated in suddenly aren’t that thrilling anymore. These are all natural feelings.

What’s important here is to find your motivation after loss. What are your passions? Your drive? Some find that approaching their life after loss as a fresh start is helpful. Think about your loved one for a moment, would they want you to not live the rest of your life  and harness your opportunities because of their departure?

Would they want you to cut life’s corners and totally disengage or retreat socially and mentally because you are mourning their loss? They loved you and they will watch over you, but while you possess breath in your body – you must live. Don’t detach, don’t retreat – live.

Helpful Tips for Reconnecting with Life After Loss:

1. Look internally. Have you properly grieved? Have you reached the acceptance stage of grief? If you’re still grieving, give your loved one and yourself the respect to allow that process to complete in its entirety.

2. Are any loose ends untied? This is a often overlooked step. With all the focus on arranging ceremonies and making sure your loved one’s wishes were met, some things could have easily gone undone. For example, did you catch up on all the bills? Remember, you can always call them and let them know what happened and they may work with you; especially, during Covid.  Or do you need to spend a weekend to catch up on work? Putting your affairs back in order is a key step reconnecting with your life.

2. Asses your relationships. Look at everything, but don’t overwhelm yourself. Are there people in your life that haven’t heard  from you in a while? Did you thank everyone who helped with the memorial? A Zoom call or text would be well received. You may also be encouraged to move on to step 3:

3. Begin easing people back into your life. Before the psychologists rise in objection, we’re not suggesting you have everyone over at the same time. Maybe a friend or two over for board games or to watch the Superbowl. Because of the state limits on gathering, keep it small, but you may find that company is helpful. 

4. Begin futuring. “Futuring” is a term we use at the office that means “projecting out and looking into the future”. It’s a simple process can help you understand where you are and look into where you’d like to go. For example, if your spouse passed and you both wanted to live in separate states, maybe think about if you still want to live in the state you desired. Or maybe your future involves a career change? Whatever it is, think about it write it out. Don’t worry about getting started just yet.

5. Take your time with the hard stuff. Loss comes with decisions to make. There is no need to overwhelm yourself with questions about dating or making long-term commitments to anything. Life life at your pace and let the natural things happen naturally.

6. Begin working on you. For some this looks like hitting the gym, for others it may be blocking out time in your day to read more. Only you can identify what you want to work on and who you want to become. The important thing is to start. Maybe 20 minute walks, committing to drinking more water, eating better, spending more time with the people you love…etc. Go for it.

Loss is something we cannot predict nor can we change it, but what is within our realm of control is how we respond, pick ourselves back up and reconnect with life.

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