Some losses change everything. We're not the same people we used to be. How could we be?
From the Grieving Heart:
Since you left, I'm not the same. I used to love going places and being with people. I loved fun as much as the next person.
All that has changed. For me, all the fun has been sucked out of the universe. Life feels heavy. Walking through my day is like slogging through waist-deep mud.
I don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to see anyone. I want to be alone. I'm hurting, and I would prefer to hide.
Everywhere I go, I feel people looking at me. I assume they’re wondering how I'm doing, or maybe what to say or do. It seems like I make everyone uncomfortable.
My heart can't handle it. If I'm alone, I don't have to worry about others, what they're thinking, what I need to do, how I'm coming across, etc. I'm not prepared for judgment or criticism, and I'm afraid that's exactly what I'm going to get.
I'm holing up here today. I'll revel in my sadness and miss you all I want. Your absence covers my world. The void you have left is massive.
I miss you.
Things have changed. We have changed.
Loss stuns us. The emotional onslaught of sadness, anger, anxiety, confusion, guilt, and frustration can be intense. Life becomes heavy. Fun disappears. Laughter seems out of place, unloving, or even irreverent.
The world looks different. Some become overly aware of the people around them and what they might be thinking about us and our grief. Being in public or with others socially can become difficult. We're not on the same page as everyone else, and we feel that keenly.
For many, the safest and most logical thing to do is to go home and stay there.
When we're wounded, we naturally tend to withdraw. Instinctively, we know we need to heal. Recovery from deep, traumatic losses requires time for us to think, feel, battle internally, and adjust. And some of this is best done alone.
Yes, we need other people, but most of us also need quality time alone when grieving. This balance is unique to everyone and is as individual as every loss and each person's grief process. Time alone can be refreshing and healing. Short times of solitude remove the clamor and noise of a world that might be less than helpful to us right now.
The challenge is finding the balance of getting healthy time alone while staying connected to other people. In terms of what we need at any given moment, this balance between solitude and socializing can change in an instant. Grief is an unpredictable moving target.
Our goal is to stay flexible and pay attention to what our hearts might need from moment to moment.
I'll grieve well by getting the alone time I need while staying connected to people that are helpful to me.
Adapted from the newly released Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragement for Times of Loss. To watch a brief video about the book, click here.