They are gone, and yet we remain. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. What now? How do I move forward in my life without feeling selfish, hopeless, or stuck? What do I do?
When dealing with the loss of a loved one, you don’t need to be alone during your grieving process. Develop your support network, and if needed find a therapist.
A suggestion I have for those suffering from a loss, is a process I like to call Active and Mindful Grieving. This technique was inspired from an Amish tradition I learned about during a time when I lost someone in my life. This tool is best used after the initial shock of the loss.
The process starts with finding a jar or something similar that is meaningful to you. Next, find and place pebbles or stones in your vessel. Now you have your grieving tools. Each day that goes by, designate a time to grieve. Find a peaceful place and take a stone from your jar. Apply meaning to this stone. This could include something you want your lost one to know, something you are upset about, something that you cherished, something you want to let go of, something you want to forgive the other for, etc. Each stone will represent a different aspect of your loss.
Through designating a time each day for your loved one, you are being mindful of your loss. You are not hiding from the pain, anger, or any other feelings you might experience. You are being mindful of your experience. Each day that goes by, you are bringing awareness toward (and not running from) your loss. Through active grieving, unexpected feelings are less likely to blindside you. You are allowing yourself time to grieve and also honor your loved one daily. This can alleviate the feelings we have as we try and pursuit our day-to-day activities.
The designated time you have set out each day is for you and your loss. The rest of the day is for you.
As each day passes, you will notice the stones having a smaller presence in your vessel. In some cases, you might need to add more stones, and that’s okay. In other cases, you might find that you didn’t need every stone, and that is okay too. What’s important is that you are giving yourself time each day to be mindful of and applying meaning to your loss.
The grieving process has 5 stages. Please click here to learn more about them.
It is important to note that these stages are not linear and can resurface. The grieving process does not have a finish line; rather it is a process that allows you to make meaning of your loss, and it’s impact on you can become a source of strength, rather than deterioration.
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Ben Black, LCSW