When someone we love dies, our lives change. There is really no getting around this. It is important that we understand this and at the very least hold a little bit of space for it. We struggle when our lives change – especially when it happens without our wanting it to. Boy sometimes we really struggle with this. And you know, it’s okay to struggle with this. Our world looks different now. There can be so much uncertainty because of it.

The changes can be outer changes, the world around us, and they can be inner changes, what is happening with our thoughts and emotions.

It is exhausting.

I believe though, that if we can acknowledge that it is happening, we can allow it just a bit more.

We sometimes call these changes Secondary Losses.

It is helpful, as a griever, to take stock occasionally. What has changed in my inner world?

Some of the thoughts I hear in my conversations are – I feel like I have lost my confidence. I feel ineffective. I have lost my focus, or I am not as tolerant as I used to be. Those are just some examples.

In our outer world I hear things like, I have to move, or doing the gardening isn’t as fulfilling as it used to be, or I have to learn how to cook. Or even, I used to love my job and it has lost its juice. Or, most often I hear, my friend wasn’t there for me.

Those are just some examples. The point here is to be aware that this is a normal (not comfortable) but a normal part of grieving. We are creating a life without our person.

When we understand that this too is a natural part of the grieving process, it can perhaps open up ways that we can actually make choices about some of these changes. Certainly not all of them, but some and so in a small way, we can find some sense of personal power.  Instead of feeling like everything is out of our control, we can take small steps to create what we would like.

It is a process and it takes time. Just remember that your world has changed and that when we can name this it can promote a little bit of clarity for you.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs