Situation after loss
After the death of my father and later my boyfriend, Paul, my head felt full and it seemed like nothing would go in anymore. Routines were okay and as soon as something new came my way, I got stressed, because there was no space in my head. I functioned on sort of automatic pilot. I did it, only I wasn’t mindful.
My cousin, who lost his girlfriend years before, gave me the advice not to take any major decisions in the first six months. This was a good advice, to postpone decisions where possible. No decision about moving house, finances and/or changing my job. Not having to do this was a relief and allowed me the peace and quiet I required.
Decisions and grief
One of my personal challenges was shortly before Paul died, I had to decide if I should participate within a 6 months project located in Nigeria. Paul was enthusiastic and wanted to come with me. This was fantastic and felt good.
After he passed away, I didn’t want to walk away from my feelings and also didn’t want to leave my familiar surroundings. I thought going to Nigeria would mean the delay of my mourning process and it felt right to surrender to my grief. Also it didn’t feel right to go on my own.
Luckily my manager had a sixth sense and asked: “Nigeria is probably not an option anymore?” and I just had to confirm that it was not.
Now, many years later, I know better, as you take your grief with you wherever you go. Postponing or avoiding can happen, however grief can catch up with you at any time.
So, what about the smaller tasks? Even those can be postponed. Maybe you just can’t or don’t feel like doing them or you just don’t have the energy for it. One moment you begin enthusiastically with something and the next moment you don’t feel like doing it anymore. If you don’t fancy cooking, then order something online or maybe you fancy cooking and halfway through you can’t be bothered anymore. It is all alright. There is no handbook how to deal with loss, how to mourn or how long it will take. Everybody mourns in their own way.
Do what feels right for you
What could you do in the first period? Look at what is important for you and what gives you support or comfort. If you can, take time for yourself and allow your sorrow. You could do this by listening to music, share memories, talk about what happened and how you feel, gather good friends and family around you, make a photo album or keep a journal. These are examples which helped me. It doesn’t matter what it is, even if it is doing nothing, just do what feels right for you.
Half a year is an indication, as this can be different for you. For me, I found that after six months the mist in my head started to clear and slowly I started to look around me again, but the timescale is not predictable.
I’d love to know how the experience was for you.
If you are still struggling to come to terms with your loss, you can always contact me for an initial chat.
Wow Palmyra, you gave a real, vulnerable insight in your own mourning process. And at the same time you have given some very helpful suggestions!
Such a heartfelt piece of writing. Thank you dear Palmyra!