This is a tough question. Many I know are still struggling with day to day responsibilities, finding it difficult to function at all. Others are functioning well enough to put on that happy face and go to work. I personally don’t know if I had to work outside my home whether I would have travelled through the wilderness as well as I have. I believe many of us force ourselves to face “reality” far too soon. There truly is a hibernation time we need to have where we should not be forced to assume that plastic smile and say “May I help you?” Other countries are far more practical about grieving and allow so much more time to get back to “normal”. Unfortunately, for those of us who live here in the United States, we have to deal with our short bereavement leave and “get on with life”, or so it seems.
For others, they don’t feel they can mourn openly anywhere because people keep expecting them to get better. Let me be the first to give you the news flash, we will always feel that gaping hole in our hearts, always. Does that mean we will never be happy or have joy in our lives again? Absolutely not! I was bound and determined to get joy back into my life as fast as possible. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I did need to grieve. It wasn’t going anywhere. If I avoided it, it would be waiting for me around the corner and hit me so unexpectedly, I’d have to run out of grocery stores trying to hold my tears until I got to the car. All because I realized I had to buy the smaller package of hot dog buns because J.T. wasn’t there anymore to eat his share!
Grief will find you. You can try to run, you can try to hide, but it will find you. So, don’t run, don’t hide. The quicker you accept your grief, the more processing you can do, and then the more you will be lifted up. One day, you will awaken without having your first thought be that dreadful day you lost your loved one. One day you will catch yourself smiling at the sky because of a beautiful cloud your angel brought especially for you. You will see the beauty in everything around you again, instead of the darkness which you thought became the existence of your life. You will laugh at a joke, or think of a funny thought or memory of your child. And, you will feel guilty about it…the first hundred times it happens. What I tell people when they tell me they feel guilty about being happy again, I ask them if they really thought their child would want them to feel guilty, or enjoy the moment. The answer is always the latter. Enjoy those glimpses of happiness and joy when they come. The more you embrace them, the more they will come.