This question is often the topic of debate, as those who have suffered a loss know that their lives will never be the same again. It has also been said that we do not recover from grief, but rather that we learn to live with it over time.
So...what is recovery?
When we refer to recovery in the context of the Grief Recovery Method, we refer to the set of action steps that allow grievers to heal the pain that they are experiencing as the result of a specific loss. We also discuss the myths that our society continues to pass down that can compound the feelings of sadness and isolation that grievers are already experiencing.
This weekend mothers all over the UK will be receiving gifts from their children and partners to celebrate motherhood. We would like to look at the holiday from a less common perspective, acknowledging those who may be experiencing more painful emotions than happy ones on Mothering Sunday.
Some of us may find this occasion difficult to celebrate because we have never been able to experience motherhood even though it has been one of our hopes and dreams.
Others may struggle with this day because motherhood has not been everything they expected it to be.
I remember vividly within days of my husband Kevin dying being asked about his stuff. Honestly! You would imagine that there would be a whole host of other topics people would ask about before this, but no. Everyone wanted to know "have you done anything about the clothes yet?"
If you are reading this and grieving yourself I bet you will have immediately noticed that these possessions which sat next to his skin have been de-personalised. THE clothes, not his clothes. "The Clothes", as if they are wild animals which left untamed & uncaptured will riot around the house (ie your life) out of control.
So having lived this, discussed this with dozens of other grieving people and read hundreds of accounts of dealing with these wild beasties here is my suggested way to go about it:
Whether you always made a big deal of Father’s Day or it barely raised a mention in your household there is no doubt that this year it will feel like it’s everywhere and unrelenting.
Continual reminders of the life you no longer have, rubbing salt into your wounded heart.
Unfortunately, however much you want to put your head under the duvet and not come out until Tuesday you can’t. You have to continue to be both parents to your kids who also are being bombarded with images of kids playing or bonding with their Dad’s. So what can you do to get through this as best you can?
1) Make it a team effort
Talk to your kids ahead of time to discuss what they’d like to do to mark the day or not mark it at all. Be sure to let them air their ideas and show them you have listened equally you have your say too – if something is going to be too difficult for you it is OK to say so.
In 2006 my husband Kevin died aged 41 from the most curable form of cancer. When his life ended so did my world. When people said (trying to be helpful) he’s out of pain I’d look at them in dumb shock. On a bad moment I’d reply “lucky him, mine has just got unbearable.”
How I could still be alive and in so much pain? I wouldn’t let myself think of continuing to live with this pain and without him, I started to exist from moment to moment, these were the darkest days of my life. I remember sitting on the harbour wall in Malta at Christmas – I’d fled there to try to escape – leaning forward and contemplating letting go and falling in.
If you’ve experienced a major bereavement, then I’m sure you’ll have discovered that your feelings are unlike
anything else you have experienced. You may also have discovered that it feels unlike any other loss you may have experienced before because all relationships are unique and therefore your grief is just as unique as you & your relationship are.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people being told that they are