In counseling we talk about the “stages of grief” quite a bit.
There are very normal emotions that come along with grief, especially grief associated with losing a loved one.
I liken grief to waves in the ocean hitting the shore where the person grieving stands. A wave of grief hits hard, then it resides… only to hit hard again.
With time though, the waves typically hit less frequently and with less power.
There comes a time in the healing process where a person starts to notice that the waves are actually starting to change.
They aren’t in as much pain as they once were.
They can tell they’re moving further away from the grief.
Maybe this is after weeks, or after years. Regardless, they start to feel the healing process doing what it does.
Oftentimes, this realization in of itself cases another layer of grief to emerge.
Not necessarily grief about the event or the loss, but grief that they could be moving forward from it.
It’s in the moving forward that can feel like they’re really leaving who they lost behind.
That time and space are separating them.
Healing can actually feel wrong.
Because it feels like they could be forgetting.
Sometimes it’s hard to trust their memory to hold on tight enough to what or who they are moving forward without.
Sometimes people need to be reminded that it’s okay to be okay, too.
It doesn’t take away from the love they held for someone, or the heartache that came with the loss.
I would also remind them that they actually aren’t moving forward without them, but moving forward with them.
Because the person they lost left an impact on them, left a mark on their heart that cannot be erased.
There is a part of them they will always carry. No matter how much healing happens.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, I want you to know it’s okay to heal.
It doesn’t lessen your love. It doesn’t make anything you felt less real.
It means you are going to keep living this life to the fullest, carrying a part of them with you into it.
Sometimes healing is a hard part of grief.
But it doesn’t take you away from the person you lost.
It brings you forward with them.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog