Yesterday I made a new friend through unfortunate circumstances. I don’t know much about her, but we have both experienced loss and that is a club that always welcomes new members with the understanding that we didn’t want to be there.
As I was reading a post that she wrote about trying to get back to life and the expectations of what “normal” living was after loss, I became a tad emotional again remembering that moment when I was trying to figure out what my “rights” were as I re-entered an unchanged life as a changed person.
There is also that expectation that flows from all sides of what “acceptance” and “letting go” are really like and what should be expected.
The following is what I learned that helped lead me to “acceptance” of grief without letting grief re-define who I was.
* You have the right to define loss for yourself –
Whether it was the loss of a spouse, family, friend, child, pet, job or dream; loss is loss. There is no sliding scale of intensity of loss based on a predetermined definition and you should never be made to feel as though someone loss more than you so you don’t have an entitlement to your feelings.
It’s obvious when you are standing at a funeral that you are experiencing bereavement. Yet, not all losses are afforded the right of physical burial. This lack of visual custom does not alleviate the burden of loss.
*You have the right to define your grief period –
Unlike a physical wound that can be visually affirmed of healing; the wound of grief is deep and unseen. There should never be a time period placed on the one who is grieving as to when they are deemed healed. You should never feel from those around you that you have grieved long enough or not long enough.
* You have the right to not let go –
At no point should you be subjected to feeling as though you need to “let it go” in order to claim full healing. Holding on, in many cases, comforts the heart and provides a deeper connection to memories that shelter the soul. It also can be a grounding point as you go on to do things in the name of your loss.
* You have the right to rage –
Regardless of the comfort level of others, you earned the right to be furious. It’s not fair, it’s not what you expected and it wasn’t your choice. Something was ripped out of your grasp and it’s your instinctual response to be righteously angry.
* You have the right to not be strong –
It does not matter if you have always been strong and weathered life; you have the right to fall to your knees and cradle being weak.
* You have the right to be a changed person –
You don’t not have to defend yourself when some of your relationships no longer work because you have “changed.” Relationships that worked in the past may not work now, in light of your changed perspective and being. Find what is healthy and what encourages healing.
Categories: October Diary Entry