I just don’t know how to move on now. It’s a phrase I often hear when I meet others who have lost a loved one. Sometimes it’s only been a short time. Other times, it’s been more years than they care to admit. Still looking for their way.
To be honest, it scares me a little.
There is this idea that eventually this walk gets easier. In the same breath, that’s where my greatest fears now lie.
Most of us have only ever seen grief through a mask, not our own. There is raw vulnerability in sharing the truth about just how much loss can wreck you. It makes people around us uncomfortable. Hell, it makes us uncomfortable… so we just don’t show it.
This behavior promotes the stigma. It makes you feel like you are doing something wrong if you haven’t stopped grieving after the first year. A false sense of pressure that life is just supposed to go back to the way it was before. You and everyone around you wonder why you can’t just move on.
“Move on”…Those are two words I refuse to use now!
There is no such thing as moving on after loss. Moving on would require you to let go of part of your life, part of your heart. It requires you to accept that life is cruel and unfair, while proceeding as if the greatest trauma of your life never happened…with a smile. Not possible!
So, when this statement comes up, my response is always the same. I say, “I don’t think there is a such thing as moving on. To me, it’s simply continuing to move forward.”
Surviving loss is all about finding a way to continue putting one foot in front of the other. You cannot move forward until you find a way to do so with the person you lost still a part of your life…just in a new way. It’s different for everyone. Yet, I don’t believe you ever stop grieving their loss. How could you? Instead, the grief gets easier to carry over time. You learn coping mechanisms and how to avoid triggers making life feel easier.
The grief is always still there. The love is always still there. You haven’t really moved on. Just forward.