Donna Loza, LCPC, CADC, CODP I
Grief is strongly felt when we lose a person who meant everything to us. Grief is felt when there is a break up of a marriage and all the hopes, dreams, goals of that life has died. Grief is felt when the children now raised are no longer under the same roof and have adult lives of their own.
Grief is felt when something deeply tied to us is no longer present to us.
It’s the moving on that keeps us paralyzed from leaving the house, going to the store, going for a walk or sitting at a park and watching people enjoy themselves.
Sometimes, we can hear wisdom in how others have struggled and moaned through life that if we sit still long enough and listen, we might learn something from them.
It is in the knowing that we are not the same person as we once were as we figure out who we are now in the midst of this new space.
Imagine a bridge. A big, lengthy, beautiful bridge that binds us to our past, present, and future. On one side of this bridge, was the past, it had our life, our wonderful life that included our friends, family, routines, plans, even our dreams and it was all good. What else did we need, we asked ourselves. It was perfect.
In the middle of your bridge, you are suffering in grief. You are no longer in your old life, something changed, someone died, or someone moved away. You might be confused, angry at what happened. In this area of the bridge, you might be having trouble eating, sleep does not comfort you, your mind is racing with memories, you feel overwhelmed and so you do nothing.
If you look ahead, to the opposite side of the bridge, you recognize the person in front of you, they look like you but something is different. You are carrying on in conversations, possibly tending to your garden, reading books, meeting up with friends for dinner and perhaps laughing again. This side of the bridge is a completely different life.
How do we cross that bridge to the other side that offers healing and hope?
- We get out of bed and place two feet on the ground.
- We practice good hygiene (e.g., shower and shave.)
- We pay attention to what we place in our bodies (i.e., healthy food and hydration.)
- We pay attention to how we talk to ourselves (e.g., “This is awful but I will manage through this.”)
- Get moving, exercise and do those steps.
- Find a friend who get’s it and can hold you accountable.
- We learn to sit with the emotions and wait for them to subside.
- If we need to cry, it’s okay to do that.
- Know that you are doing the work and you got this!!!!
If you can imagine that bridge having multiple planks that bind to one another just like our memories, experiences, and the multiple people in our lives, even our dreams will bind us together to create who we are today. As you experience sorrow or pain, you can move from one plank to the next, in hope that we find healing as we move forward and create more positive, uplifting experiences, never forgetting where we came from, never forgetting the memories, or the people we lost, for we know they will always live on inside each and every one of us, as in the bridge but moving forward to the other side where we can build a life that has just as much meaning as the one we came from.