Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Grief Journey Never Ends

The grief journey never ends, but neither does the journey of hope. There is no proper way to grieve, no matter what you’ve been told or have heard. There is also no magic formula to help with the pain. We each go through our journey as best as we can. For some it will take a year or two, for others, much longer.

We have choices to make as we go through this journey. With each choice we can become stronger. We can face the future with courage, optimism and creativity. At first we may be afraid to do anything, but day by day I personally choose to be happy. I choose not to wallow in my grief. I choose to have goals and to make them happen. I choose a reason to live and move on with my life. I choose to regain control of my life. Having hope for whatever I choose to do is important to me now. I think I’ve succeeded in this goal. Sure, I miss my daughter. She is part of my heart now and always will be. But being happy is a choice that I have made, no matter the roadblocks.

Over the years I have met so many people, heard so many stories of loss, and I have tried to be part of the recovery process. With books and organizations now to help in that process, the end results is a society of thriving individuals who did it themselves. Although others may help, the inner-most part of the person must also want to succeed. By helping others, I have helped myself and I have chosen the path of helping others get through the pain, the anguish, the sadness and find new meaning in their lives. I do this through speaking at national conferences, at local bereavement chapters and writing not only books on surviving grief, but also (at last count) almost 500 blogs on the topics of coping, personal stories and informational helpful articles for the bereaved. What a cathartic help all this has been for me in return! It was a natural choice. I have been a journalist/writer my entire life.

Trust your own instincts no matter what others say is the key to hope and renewal on our grief journey. If you have dreams you have never been able to fulfill, now is the time to take a closer look at your dreams. Take that leap of faith. Someone once said to me, “Dare to dream and believe in yourself.” For example, if you’ve always wanted to travel, now is the time. Go alone if you must; you will find others on your journeys to exotic lands. And who knows what might come of taking that first step. Don’t fear the future. You’ve already lived through the worst thing that could ever happen to you, the loss of a child.

More and more, people are making bucket lists and following them. Not only does it show that you can accomplish great things, but you will find you have gained control over your life again. I am always reminded of the quote by William Shedd I had for many years on the wall of my classroom (along with others) that I found thought-provoking “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”

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