Perspectives on Grieving
New Year Resolutions for Grievers
It's a new year, and there may be the temptation to reinvent yourself, put bad habits to rest, and just reset life in general. While none of those things are inherently bad, how does this impulse (phenomenon?) play out if one is grieving? We can often badger and bludgeon people with all of our good intentions and all the "shoulds" we offer: "You should get over it by now." "You should start dating." "You should move on" etc, etc. But what if we instead resolve to give those bereaved in our lives the time and space to do what they need, or to do nothing at all? Below you will find New Year's Reflections (resolutions, if you wish) for the grieving. We hope you find it helpful.
- That I will grieve as much, and for as long, as I feel like grieving, and that I will not let others put a time table on my grief.
~That I will grieve in whatever way I feel like grieving, and I will ignore those who try to tell me what I should or should not be feeling and how I should or should not be acting.
~That I will cry whenever and wherever I feel like crying, and that I will not hold back my tears just because someone else feels I should be "brave" or "getting better" or "strong."
~That I will talk about my loved one as often as I want to, and will find people who know how to listen.
~That I will not blame myself for my loved one's death, and that I will constantly remind myself that I did the best job I could possibly have done. But when feelings of guilt are overwhelming, I will remind myself that this is a normal part of the grief process and it, too, will pass.
~That I will communicate with my loved one in whatever way feels comfortable and natural to me, and that I won't feel compelled to explain this to others or to justify or even discuss it with them.
~That I will try to eat, sleep, and exercise every day in order to give my body the strength it will need to help me cope with my grief.
~To know that I am not losing my mind and to remind myself that loss of memory, feelings of disorientation, lack of energy, and a sense of vulnerability are all normal parts of the grief process.
~To know that I will survive and heal, even though it may take a long time.
~To let myself heal and not to feel guilty about feeling better.
~To remind myself that grieving is a process and that I may not make steady upward progress. There will be good days and bad days. When I find myself feeling stuck, I will remind myself feeling that way is normal.
~That I will reach out at times, and try to help someone else, knowing that helping others will help me cope with my grief and grow more resilient.
~That even though my loved one is dead, I will opt for life when and as I am able.
Adapted from New Year’s Resolutions for the Grieving by Ronnie Walker