After losing a loved one, life is going to be different. A lot of people don’t realize that the loss of job, home, pet, friends or services can have the same effect. The SAME EFFECT as losing a loved one! Though the levels of sadness may vary, the need to create a new way of living is inescapable. But we need to start at the beginning.
After a flurry of activity over several weeks, a woman cried, “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal!”
Her friend was perplexed. “Your life has been like this all the years I’ve known you. I thought this WAS your normal!”
So, a reality check. Before the loss, did you really do the same stuff, the same way, with the same people, every single day? Week? Month? Year?
Make a list of things about where you live that have changed in the last 10 years (electronics, walls, furniture, appliances, window treatments, plants, yard, animals, neighbors, address, roof, fence, the way you clean - - -)
Make a list of personal changes the last 10 years ( weight, natural hair color, chosen hair color, food preferences, music, reading habits, jewelry, fragrance, hygiene items, clothing/shoe styles, friends, job, relationship(s), car, health, family - - - - -)
“I’m retired. Nothing changes and I don’t want it to.” Hmm. Life list please. Start here: car, family, job, computers, address, weather, health - - - -
“I’m a stay-at-home parent. Same old, same old, every day.” Hey!! Your pants are on fire!!
Seriously. Make the lists. We’ll wait.
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If you gave it some time and thought, the lists were probably a little longer than you expected.
Now review your list, thinking about the length of time each item took to become part of the routine. Author Nia Vardalos put it this way: “We moved into the house after the wedding. Six and a half minutes later I was pregnant, and a week after that, I was taking our daughter to Greek school.”
Oh, yes, there are things in life that come at you fast. Realistically, most things evolve over time.
And that’s our key to fashioning a new normal:
Evolve: to come forth gradually into being; develop; undergo evolution
Adapt: to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly
Assimilate, get into, bring on, add to the schedule, get used to, optimize, going forward, make it so, whatEVer.
THE most important thing to remember – it ain’t gonna happen tomorrow.
The other most important thing to remember – it doesn’t have to. Yay!
Opening your eyes in the morning to a new scene – that in itself takes weeks to get used to. In the midst of grief and depression, getting out of bed is a major accomplishment. It could be months before you take a shower for no apparent reason. Leave the house? Not unless it’s on fire, and even then it’s iffy. Socialize? Faggeddaboudit!
Some people feel pressured to hurry up and be okay. The corporate climate tends to demand it. Unfortunately, there isn’t much help for this. ‘Corporate chaplain’ was an idea that was slow to be accepted, and most likely non existent in today’s economic culture (at a time one is needed more than ever!). So rely on your clergy or a grief counselor to get you through this part. You might know someone who’s been through it? Reach out to them. They don’t know they can help you that way until you tell them.
Other than that, you must move at your own pace. If, in a year, you haven’t moved off square one, we may need to jump start things. Until then, relax, and do what you can, when you can.
Let people do things for you, with you. If you’re the type who cleans the house because the maid is coming, you’ll have problems here. They need to do it, and it’s helpful to you - if you can swallow your pride just a bit.
Don’t get upset because people are seeing you “like this”. Get over yourself. The ones who’ve been through it get it. The ones that haven’t are learning, and need to learn. Teach with grace and gentleness.
It’s a slow, but rewarding journey toward