When you lose someone, one tends to stay more in the past, despite living in the present. Whatever role you have played in the deceased’s life, irrespective of you being a mother or father, brother or sister, wife or husband, fiancé or fiancée, grandparents, or friends, one is expected to move ahead in life after the loss.
Most of the people I came across (who genuinely care deeply about me) after my fiancé died (how I hate to use this word), advised or suggested me to take a step ahead in my life. What does this mean? What do they expect when they tell you to start thinking of your future? I often get amused as well as confused listening to this advice. Most of the times my heart just whispers to me, “do they know what they are asking me to do?” There are times when I really feel like asking them about what’s on their mind?
Do we start believing that the deceased is an entity, that can be deleted permanently as and when a person decides or wishes to, from the hard drive of our mind, brain and heart? Or do we forget that the deceased represents a human being, with whom there has been years of association? Does witnessing other people’s loss, turn our minds into the most logical and practical entity of advising committee on this planet, switching off the zones of emotions and humanity?
So what does moving ahead mean? How about being able to constructively involve yourself in knitting a life that gives you happiness? Forgetting the deceased, the relationship you had with them and the memories you shared with them, is just next to impossible, so why not stop fighting the urge to run away from it, and accepting the reality. I too find myself fighting with the past sometimes, but I do have my calendar of happy days. This is when:
- I live in the present, and feel glad to have had him as part of me and my life.
- I can take steps, decisions without the past affecting me
- I can continue to love and take my loss, him and my past as the most powerful strength, that only I possess
- I have the freedom to talk and express the real thing, without pretending, and yet give my 100 percent to the present.
I have met grieving people, waking up every morning, trying to get their lives together, putting efforts to live in the present, even if it takes away a lot of emotional and physical energy. But still we have an immense need to advise them about moving ahead, of course because we care, but ending up adding to the pressures they are trying to cope with.
My suggestions to the well-wishers of the grieving individuals are:
- How about standing next to them, letting them know you are there irrespective of any odds. That you have great pair of ears, that are totally functional, and there to listen to them. Tell them “I understand, I might not be able to feel the same emotions, but tell me what can I do for you?”
- Put no demands. It is their life, how about not trying to push your beliefs and perceptions about the right way to live life. Remember, the grievers are already fighting their individual battles. How about appreciating them for being able to succeed every morning, for being able to think of a future, for succeeding to take smallest of decisions.
- Please help a grieving individual find meaning in life, cause a meaning, gives a purpose or an agenda to their existence. Give them options for the “present” and not the future. For the only reason that you aren’t the writer of your or anybody’s future.
- Don’t stop them from talking or sharing what they feel about the past, present or future. Stopping them would only push you away from them. Remember, all the acts of expression, have a lot to convey about the state of mind one is in.
- And most importantly, please make sure you don’t end up asking them to erase the past, because even if they follow your advice, they would end up suppressing their emotions, needs and feelings consciously, which will unconsciously start affecting the relationships around.
I would sign off by requesting to believe that a past can never be a hindrance if accepted without inhibitions and with full heart. Be empathetic and not sympathetic.
As a grieving individual, let’s continue to make our past, our relationships and our experiences our strength to grow as individuals. I guess then, moving on means being able to take one by one step in the direction of a better you, a better life.