Taking the Time
Anyone that has lost someone knows that the pain of that loss does not just vanish after a certain amount of time has passed. The rest of the world may have started to move on again, but when you lose someone you love you may still feel stuck in grief for a long time after everyone else stops asking about the person you lost. Unfortunately there is nothing the be done about how others react to loses, or when they stop talking about that person, but there are things to keep in mind with dealing with grief yourself.
The first and single most important thing to remember is that grief has no timeline. It may take you longer than others think is the ‘right amount of time’ to stop feeling that grief so intensely, but there is no right amount of time. No per-set date from the time of a loss till you are out of the hurt enough to move on. Every person is different, each loss unique, and each situation requires a different emotional reaction. There is no wrong way to feel when you lose someone, there is only how you feel. There is only how the experience is affecting you and the rest of your life. There is no timetable, no date to put on the calendar that will be the ‘all-clear’ day. Someday you will start to feel better. That does not mean you will forget, or that it will not still hurt, but one day without realizing it you will remember suddenly that you don’t feel quite as bad as you did before. It will take the time that it takes, and it is okay to grieve for as long as you need to grieve.
Taking that time does not mean, though, removing yourself entirely from the rest of the world. This is the second thing that you should keep in mind as you navigate this event. It can be tempting, for some more than others, to withdraw, to hide from the world, to avoid everyone you know. And it is hard to watch others go on living their lives when you are in so much pain and it is true that you do not need to carry on as though nothing has happened, but taking the time to grieve does not mean that you have to put the rest of your life completely on hold. You can continue on in pain and sorrow, you can take extra time away from others, withdraw into positive hobbies and activities, change your lifestyle, do whatever you need to do, but you cannot cut yourself off entirely from the rest of the world indefinitely. For many that is not an option at all, anyway, we have to continue to work, to take care of ourselves and our families and our homes, and so we continue on and on and on. But taking care of your grief is an important part of your life after a loss as well. Taking the time to let yourself heal and knowing it is okay if it takes time is important, but it cannot be the only thing that you do, you must find a way to summon the will to be out in the world still. Because no matter how hard it is to get out and be around others being alone too much will only cause your pain to continue in an unending spiral. People matter to this process, people are important, people make a difference, and while it is good to take the time you need to grieve you must accept that part of the self-care of grieving is continuing to reach out to others for help, support, or just someone you can see a movie with or drink coffee with to take your mind outside of yourself for a few hours, or even minutes, at a time.
Finally, keep in mind that there are still resources and people in the community that want to help you after a loss. Sierra Hospice provides ongoing support, your friends and family members can be a constant point of support, and there are resources and help in Chester and all of Plumas and Lassen county if you find yourself struggling with the loss. We do live in a rural community, and we are more limited in what services are available to us as a community, but there are so many people that live here who pitch in everyday to try to help others and do what they can to reach out and make sure no one in our spread out forested communities are being left behind. We want to help, if you want our help, and we are here if you ever need to call someone for support.