A friend of mine attended a funeral the other day. It happened to be the anniversary of her marriage and had her husband not died two years ago it would have been their fiftieth. As would be expected, that was a very hard day for her and having to attend a funeral could have added to her misery. In the midst of her thoughts and melancholy, she had a break through. They read the passage from the Bible about a time to live and a time to die. She had heard those words hundreds of times, but this time they seemed to speak directly to her. She felt a sense of exhilaration and release. The words seemed to tell her it was time for her to live again. She called me excited about the experience and left me wondering what on earth had happened.
I can only guess of course, but what I think happened is, she turned the corner in her grief. I think there comes a day when we must decide to live again. In my experience it happens some time after about two years although I am sure it happens earlier for some and much later for others. I even think we will know when it happens. It comes in many different forms some more dramatic and some rather quiet, but we seem to know when it comes.
I told a woman that in her own time she would decide to live again and that she would know it perhaps by something she could not face now that she will suddenly be able to face. Perhaps something she could not give up, a chair she could not sit in, or something she could not even look at. She said it was the desk in her den. It was a roll top desk and contained all of the family pictures. She said when she could open it and clean it out she would know. She called one night and asked me to come to her home. When I arrived she was standing in front of the opened and cleaned desk beaming. She had decided to live again.
Another woman said she was walking across the street to her car after church one Sunday and she suddenly felt that she had to decide right then whether to live or die. She decided to live.
That does not mean the grief is over for these folks. It will never be over. It just means they have turned the corner in the way they cope with the loss. They will still hurt and at times be overwhelmed with the pain, but they relate to the loss in a new way and tend to seek ways to move on with their lives.
I think some folks get in far too big of a hurry to get rid of things. It is like an empty closet doesn’t remind us of our loved one but a full one does. Friends and family tend to pressure us to move on long before we want or need to do so. It does not take many months after a death before people begin to suggest that we need to put the loss behind us and move on. They do not realize that this is a process that must work its own way out. There will come a day when we begin to put it behind us and cope in a new way, but no one can schedule that day, nor can they hasten it by pressure. We turn the corner when we come to it. Until then we must be free to be where we are and feel what we feel.
Copyright Doug Manning of In-Sight Books, Inc. Doug’s books, CDs and DVDs are available at www.insightbooks.com. Post originally published on Doug’s Blog at The Care Community www.thecarecommunity.com.
Updated: August 21, 2013