Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Letting Go and Moving Forward
When my husband passed away, I went to 2 group counseling sessions and then met with a grief counselor several times. There are basically 2 steps to start the healing process. Step 1 is to accept and admit that the loved one is not coming back. Step 2 is to remember your relationship with the person in a realistic manner. Some people focus only on the good things. This makes the loved one nearly perfect and the survivor feels unworthy or even guilty for not seeing the perfection while the person was alive. Others focus on the negative, and they feel angry towards the deceased. There’s no closure available for that anger and so it drags out and makes the survivor miserable and also guilty for feeling this way about someone they loved and is no longer here. Ideally, of course, is to remember the person and the relationship as it really was. The ups and the downs. The good with the bad.
No matter what your particular situation, it all comes down to the same process. Whether the person is remembered as a saint, an ogre, or somewhere in between, really makes no difference. Whatever negative feelings we are holding onto, either of ourselves or them, we need to just let go. What makes it so difficult to do is the inability to talk to that person to resolve conflict inside of us. We can’t apologize for what we did or didn’t do, and we can’t extract an apology from the deceased if they hurt us. The only way for us to move forward, is to not dwell on the past. Memories are fine and great, but when they consume our daily lives and fill us with regret, then they aren’t the kind of memories that are comforting. Find an outlet for your feelings. Talk out loud, shake your fists to the skies, write a letter or even a blog post. Whatever you have to do to enable yourself to move on.
I am writing this to help me move on, (coupled with a 12 page letter to my husband), and if it helps even just one other person, then I can feel good about the start of my new life. We don't need to ask for forgiveness, nor try to forgive those who have left us. God does the forgiving in both situations. Learn from the past, don't spend your life living there.