Some people say that the funeral is easy compared to what comes after: the idea of moving on, continuing to live life, without the person who died. The truth is, after losing someone important to you, your life will never be exactly the same.
Everybody's situation is different, but there are some things you can count on that will, with time, help make it easier to go forward:
- Eventually, the grief and all the emotions that come with it will ease.
- You will be able to think about things other than the pain that the person's death has caused.
- The person who died can never be "replaced," but you will form strong relationships with other people.
- You will find yourself interested in things that used to make you happy-or you will find new ones.
- The hole that death has made in your life will fill up with all the things that make life worth living, from friends and activities to school, work, family, and religion.
It will not be easy, and it will not be quick. Getting through grief takes a long time. There's no set "time limit," and it's not like a staircase where you keep going up and up, feeling better with each step. There may be periods when you feel really good, and then suddenly slide back into grief again. You may find yourself going back and forth between emotions, even when you thought you had already dealt with them.
There will be difficult days. How hard will that first Christmas be without the person you lost? What about his birthday, or the one-year anniversary of his death? Even days that never meant much before may be really tough now. For instance, if you lost your mom, Mother's Day might always be one of your least favorite times. But if you let it out, talk it out, and find creative ways to deal with your grief emotions, you will be able to make it through all these bad days. Slowly, you'll find that you're having more good days than bad.
There's no quick, easy formula for moving on with life after someone you love has died. The best you can do is slowly, little by little, hold onto the memories while letting go of the pain. Eventually, life will return to a new kind of "normal." It's the only way life can work, because we all have to keep moving forward-There's no going back.
Remember: If you're having trouble moving forward, or feel like you're "stuck" going back and forth between emotions, it may be helpful to get some assistance from a counselor, therapist, or grief support group.
Next: Advice for When A Friend Is Grieving.