Grief, Loss and Transitions: When Nothing Feels the Same

When you are going through grief, loss or a time of transition, do you feel like nothing feels the same?

“I felt like the puzzle pieces of my life had been thrown across the floor and now I was left to put them back together. I was going through so much after her death. The pieces didn’t seem to fit together anymore and many of them I just didn’t recognize. How was I supposed to put the pieces of my life back together again? I just didn’t know what I was going to do.”

My mother died on June 18, 2007. Following her death, I felt like I didn’t recognize parts of my life. Have you felt that way too following the death of a significant loved one?

I thought I had prepared myself leading up to her death, since she had cancer for several years. I felt that I had mentally prepared myself for her to no longer be in my life. I also knew that she would not want me to dwell and grieve for long. She’d want me to move on, move forward with my life. I believed I was ready. I thought I was prepared. Have you felt like that too?

As I prepared for her passing, I made a promise to her that I would stay with her until the end. Unfortunately, on that fateful day, thirteen years ago, by herself in her hospital room, Mom took her last breath. And I was not there when I was supposed to be; when I told her that I would be; when I wanted so desperately to be there. For a very long time, not only did I grieve her loss, I was crushed with guilt. “I was supposed to be there,” I kept telling myself.

Years later, after immersing myself in four years of bereavement and grief studies, including funeral services, and then working with families and individuals going through so much grief, loss and life transitions, I found myself on this side of grief and transition.

When mom passed away, it truly did feel like the puzzle pieces of my life had been thrown across the floor and I was to put them back together when nothing seemed to fit together. Nothing seemed the same. Did it, or does it, feel like that for you too?

When we are going through a time of deep loss, transition and change, so much of our lives will seem different, unrecognizable and nothing will seem to fit together anymore. Whether you are going through the loss of a precious loved one, a divorce, a separation, or even a downsize and move, loss and transition comes in many forms. As you move through your experience, this chapter of your life, here are some suggestions to help you:

Be gentle on yourself. Comfort yourself and know you’ll be okay during this time of transition.

Although it feels so hard, in fact it may feel like the hardest thing you’ve ever had to go through, know that you are okay and that you will get through this. Be kind to yourself and if you are feeling guilty, know that you did the best that you could knowing what you knew then. Be gentle on yourself and forgive yourself if you are feeling any sense of guilt.

Be curious about what you can let go. 

This is a time of transition. You may not be able to hold onto everything and everyone. You have so much already in your life to deal with and go through. What can you let go? What can you say no to so you can say yes to what really matters? Notice what you may have in your life that is no longer a benefit to you. Yes, that can also mean negative people, or experiences that just don’t nourish you any longer. Start to be open to what you can let go so that it can free up the space in your life, in your heart, in your journey, for what will comfort you, nourish you and help you move forward.

Change your environment, change your routine.

This may seem like a challenging thing to do but even if you change one small thing in your home, your routine, or your activities, you will feel a sense that things can shift. It can help you to feel unstuck, at least for a moment.

You can start by changing the routines you have as daily rituals. If you follow a sequence of tasks in the morning to get ready for your day, change it up. Rather than shower first before having breakfast, have breakfast then shower. If you take a specific route to the grocery store, to work, or to a neighbouring park, take a different route. Or change it up on your way back home. Also, do what you can to get out of your environment. Get out during the day and go for a walk, or work in a new space. Change your routine and your environment and notice how it shifts things for you, one small step at a time.

It’s not easy to go through transition, a time of uncertainty and a time of grief and loss. There are things you can do to take care of you while things do not feel the same and you are going through a time of grief, loss and transition.

If you or your loved ones need help with your physical items, know that we can help you through this time of transition. We are here to help.

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