When grief is new, you will likely experience some emotions unlike anything you may have felt before. Initially, there is a strong sense of confusion and disorientation. Your world has been shaken and things you knew to be sure are now uncertain and cannot be trusted.
It may sound odd but if you have recently lost someone who is important to you, the first thing you have to do is realize they are gone. It can take a long time to have your new reality sink in. Your routine and expectations have been formed over time and it will take time to understand the things you came to count on have changed.
When you have someone close to you die, you are unable to grasp that change right away. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for the person who has died and expecting to see them. Don’t think it unusual if you wait for them, reach for them and expect to be with them again “tomorrow”, when this whole unreal thing is over.
Realizing your life is permanently altered is difficult to grasp. There will be a period of adjustment when you expect to awaken from this nightmare and have things back to the way things are “supposed to be.” This period of coming to realize what has happened can take a considerable amount of time.
After you manage to adjust to the reality of someone you love being gone, you then have to begin to recognize what that person’s absence means for you.
Your plans will have changed. Your vision and hopes for the future and your day-to-day activity will likely have been significantly altered too.
In the case of losing a partner, a child, a very close friend or anyone you were closely connected to, the security you had for the future and your vision of how your life was going to play out is now gone. This is shocking and painful and will take a significant amount of time and hard emotional work before you can digest your new reality.
Recognizing what you now have in terms of your future and your emotional needs requires adjustment. Every aspect of your life will now need re-assessment and a new framework in order to cope with what life now offers.
- When someone you care for dies, realizing they are gone does not happen instantly.
- Understanding someone you love is gone is a long, difficult process.
- Don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for the person who has died and expecting them to return.
- Don’t worry if you’re uncertain and confused for an extended period of time. Adjusting to the shock of a loved one’s death is a life changing experience.
- Expect it to take a considerable amount of time before you have digested what the death of an important person in your life means for you and your future.
Written by John D. Martin
John D. Martin is the author of I Can’t Stop Crying, Grief and Recovery a Compassionate Guide and Help Me I Hurt. Both books can be found at Amazon.