Healing & Moving On Isn’t Forgetting
In a recent podcast interview, the guest, a fellow Grief Recovery Specialist and Parent Educator, used the phrase “living forward” instead of “moving on.” I like that; I think it speaks to the positive more than simply saying “moving on.”
The thing about moving on or living forward is neither is about forgetting, condoning, or minimizing.
Things to Keep in Mind for the Griever You Know
After the loss of a loved one, well-meaning people say things with the hope of encouraging or motivate action for the griever not to dwell. However, what this may cause the griever to do, instead, is to brush aside their grief, minimize what they’re feeling, and do their best to put on a brave face. None of these actions are likely authentic to how they’re feeling and, in turn, only cause more harm and delay healing.
What would be more positive and helpful is if the griever were allowed the time and space to feel how they feel, at the moment they feel it. Anything less is a disservice to themselves, and frankly, anyone else they’re in close relationships with – especially children if the griever is a parent.
What would also be helpful is reiterating to the griever exactly what this post is about; moving on and living forward and working towards healing doesn’t mean the sadness will end. There will always be an empty seat at the table or the relationship that never was quite what they hoped it would be. And, that’s okay. But, as a supporter of a griever, or as a griever reading this, it’s allowing that to be okay, too.
Things to Keep in Mind as a Griever
If you’re reading this through the lens of a griever, I would like to dig more deeply into this idea that moving on (or living forward) means that you’re somehow abandoning that relationship in your heart or betraying the dearly departed in some way. That couldn’t be further from the truth. What would be more hurtful to your loved one is watching you continue to suffer in your sadness.
There are many reasons why grievers suffer in silence. Many reasons are pretty general and similar across the board, including this idea that you have to be strong. No one wants to be looked at like they’re a trainwreck. Rather, it’s far better to look at the role of someone who has their grief game put together, right? You’re not fooling someone like me who is empathic and not only trained in grief but grew up with it being a part of me. I can smell suffering a mile away. Truth be told, I don’t smell it, I feel it, but you get the idea. Your body speaks to me before you even say a word. Sometimes, I can sense what people are struggling with, too. Anyway, I talked about the Myths of Grief on my podcast, which can also be found on my blog. These myths are pretty universal. If you read that article or listen to that podcast episode, you may see yourself in the descriptions of how you’ve responded to life while grieving.
What I would share with you today is that living forward, in other words taking action, is the best thing you can do for yourself today, tomorrow, and for the you that will be reflected in the mirror ten years from now.
Do you want to see the grief-stricken, wrung-out from life, beaten down you that you may be feeling like today?
Or, do you want to see yourself as a Phoneix that had risen from the ashes, emotionally stronger than ever before, resilient in your heart, and overcome with gratitude that you found exactly what you needed when you needed it and turned your life around?
How could you possibly forget your loved one?
How could you condone the behavior of someone who hurt you?
You can’t, and you won’t. However, you can take steps forward that enable you to remember your loved one with joy. There may be sadness, too, but it won’t be debilitating or derailing sadness.
And, you can live forward, rewriting your future script that doesn’t include the trauma or the pain of what was done against you that hurt you. Or, the relationship won’t continue to have the same effect on you, acting as the driver in your life, dictating and influencing every future decision you make. Even if we end a relationship with someone living, don’t be fooled to believe that the relationship ends. If you have anything left emotionally incomplete, that relationship is continuing whether you like to admit it or not. And, even if you do work through it, there will always be things that come up within less than loving relationships or estranged relationships that require attention. It’s how you will choose to address those things that will either impede your growth or aid you in your evolution.
My hope is that after reading this blog post, you recognize that honoring your future by taking action today is how you honor your loved one, too. For those less than loving or estranged relationships, it’s how you honor your present and future.
To taking action! 💛