If there is one thing that I have learned about the grief process it is that change is inevitable. Everything in life changes in a moment; our emotions, our routine, our activities, even our ability to complete the simplest task changes. It is like we have to learn life all over again. Not only are we trying to process the thoughts and feelings of losing our loved one, but now we have to figure out this whole new world that we were thrust in to. We are creatures of habit so accepting all of these changes at once can be overwhelming. Learning our new life takes time, which is something that we have to be patient with. We have to give ourselves permission to take the time to adjust to this new life and be forgiving if it does not go as quickly as we think that it should.
With that being said, I have also learned that sometimes change is needed. Although change is scary and can leave us feeling vulnerable trying to figure out the unknown it can also challenge us and bring new opportunities. We have to learn to step outside of our comfort zone on our own and be comfortable allowing change. This often brought up feelings of guilt for me and I had to learn that is was ok to change. I realized that it was ok to not have the same routine, it was ok to not do things exactly like I used to, and that I was free to make any change that I needed to adjust to this new life. Traditions do not always have to be the same; sometimes change is needed. Our schedules do not have to stay the same; sometimes change is needed. Even our hobbies and interests do not have to stay the same; sometimes change is needed.
So I challenge you to consider what changes are needed in your own grief process. Do you need to change any traditions? Do you need to change how you celebrate life events? Do you need to change how you cope or explore new interests and hobbies? Do you need to make bigger changes such as different housing or a career move (Just don’t make big changes too soon)? And then after you consider what changes may challenge you and keep you moving through the grief process, take some time to give yourself permission to make these changes. Tell yourself that sometimes change is needed and allow feelings of guilt to disappear. Remind yourself that anxiety about change can sometimes be excitement about opportunity and that we may just need to embrace the situation.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.