This last week, actually month, has been one of grief and reflection. To say it has been trying would be an honest statement. The last three days have been spent at the wake and funeral of my uncle. I have been lost in a lot of reflection on different things.
My big realization is that grief is for the living. Hold back that “Nooo. Really Sherlock?” What I mean is that what we grieve is the change in our life. The loss of our loved one, job, future or whatever the source of our grief, represents change. That loss is not just the loss of what we grieve, but our dreams and hopes that we had tied what we lost.
An example is the loss of my brother in Iraq. Sean’s death represented the loss of what I thought was my future. In my mind Sean was always there. No matter if we got married and started our own families or what life brought our way. Since having him stationed all over the world never affected how close we were I could never imagine something that would. When he died I was faced with the one thing that could take him from my life forever. My plans, my hopes where suddenly changed. I had no choice in the matter.
Now don’t get me wrong, I grieve for my brother. I miss him every day. The issue with grieving is that it’s the result of not accepting the change that has been forced upon us. I have spent 4 years refusing to accept that my brother is gone. On the day he died my life as I knew it stopped, but what I fought is that my LIFE did not stop. I could not accept that my life could go on. Not the same life, not the life I had planned in my head and heart but a life none the less.
Grief is a normal emotion for all of us. It becomes an issue when we refuse to accept what is. When we stop in that moment of grief and refuse to move forward we are tethering ourselves. Grieve. Grieve all that you need to, but give yourself permission to move on. Never forget your loss, but honor the life that you left behind by moving forward to your new phase.