It is not often recognized as a part of grieving. When we lose someone we love, our world changes and so we have to change.
I hear this in grief groups a lot. Who am I now?
Am is still a wife?
Am I still a sister?
Am I still a dad?
We define ourselves by our roles. Some of them we choose, and some of them are given to us. It can be very difficult for people to let go of their role. Part of this is what do people call me now?
From our perspective here at Hospice. The relationship doesn’t end when someone dies it changes, and so you will always be a sister, you will always be a wife, you will always be a dad or a mom. We take our people with us as we continue through life. Through ritual, journaling, or remembering with others we can continue to keep our people close to us. There is comfort in this.
Over time we become accustomed to our new world. It does take time though. Time and thoughtfulness. Often well-meaning people will suggest that you move on, or get over it. Understand that they just don’t know.
We do not move on or get over, we move forward, honoring, remembering, and loving our person. As we move forward, we start to see that while I am still a dad, I also hold many other roles – husband, friend, supporter, worker. Life will shape you, and sometimes you will be able to make choices about how you want your life to be shaped. It is both.
Who am I now? You are who you have always been. The relationship doesn’t end, it changes. Love moves with us.