Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one knows that the grieving process can be a tricky thing. Grief can ebb and flow with little rhyme or reason.
What people may not realize is that the loss of a loved one, and the personal ramifications, can last for years after the actual death. In addition to the loss of the person, there is also often a loss of the support system that may have been providing comfort and assistance as time goes on.
An article by Lisa Kolb last week talks about how the second year without her husband is more difficult (and lonelier) than the first year after his death. She writes about how the first year was full of people providing food, support, and condolences, but now in year two those people have gone back to their normal lives while she is forced to figure out how to move on with a new reality.
I often work with clients who have lost a loved one and they find themselves struggling through grief, depression, and even feeling guilty about moving on. They often comment on how their family members and friends just don’t understand how difficult thing are for them, especially after a year or so (or more) has passed.
They often also comment on how no one wants to bring up the name of the person that has passed or share memories. People often feel alone in their grief, while people are trying to be supportive by not bringing up things that they think will make someone sad.
If you have lost a loved one, there is not a lot that can be said to bring comfort. You are not alone though and people are often willing and able to provide support for you if you are willing to reach out.
If you are supporting someone who has lost a loved one, consider checking in even when things seem like they have settled into a new normal. Share memories and give people space to share memories. Just because someone is no longer present, doesn’t mean that the people that loved them (and continue to love them) don’t want to talk about them.
Article originally posted in November 2015