A very dear friend of mine recently lost her mother. About 3 weeks prior to her mother’s passing, the family put her in hospice care. My friend kept asking me, what am I supposed to do during this time? Do I tell my employer or do I keep working? Do I spend every day with her or just visit on the weekends until she gets worse? No matter where she turned, there were new situations and questions without clear answers.
Of course, there’s no “right” way to let a loved one go. There’s only the choice we make in the moment that is always the best choice we could have made at the time.
When we are overwhelmed with situations in our lives, we often tell ourselves we don’t know what to do or how to behave. In the moment, we want someone to just tell us what to do so we don’t have think about it.
But those are the moments that define us. Those are the moments that help us grow and develop a resilience that will serve us as we pick up our grief and carry on. Those are also the moments when we need to give ourselves the grace to stumble through imperfectly.
It’s important to point out that not only is there no right way to let a loved one go and move through your grief, but there is also no timeline for how long it takes to move through it. Loss is a lifetime process. I’ve heard people describe it as coming in waves, and that seems right to me.
We may have days or even weeks where the grief feels faint, and then something happens that brings us to our knees and feels as fresh as the day it first happened.
I’ve seen people try to put a limit on grief. They will say things like, “I should be over this by now.” Or I’ve seen their friends say, “I don’t understand why she hasn’t gotten over this yet; it’s been going on too long.”
Your feelings of grief and loss are always your feelings, and the way you move through them is your process. It’s a process as individual as you are.
If you have a friend or loved one who is grieving, offer them your support and your time, but don’t offer them your advice. They have to work through it just like you have.
If you are in the midst of your own grief, don’t measure yourself by others’ experiences. Offer yourself the time to experience and process the loss at whatever pace you need. Love yourself rather than judging yourself through the process.
If you are working through grief and loss and would like some help, sign up for a free session with me at sonyagreencoaching.com. Until then, much love.