Six lessons that took me six years to learn

Jan 08, 2024

There is no one “right” way to grieve. There is no one “correct” timeline. And there is no such thing as speed grieving.

But there is the road I took, which I call the slow road. If the most efficient way to grieve was like traveling on a highway, I spent most of my time on offramps, cul-de-sacs and dirt roads.

I spent six years on the slow road. It was much slower than necessary, and it was filled with extra, avoidable suffering.

And I don’t want that for you.

I want to share what I wish I knew then – what would have kept me on the highway, taking the most efficient way forward. Here are six lessons that took me six years to learn.

  1. Don’t believe everything you think. I thought that if I wasn’t miserable, then I didn’t love him enough. I thought I should have been able to save him. I thought I could have been a better wife. And because I didn’t know to question those thoughts, I just assumed they were true. They kept me stuck and miserable for years.
  2. Sadness is not the only way to honor them. The moment we lose our person, the grief moves in and dominates every aspect of life. So, it can seem like grief is our only connection to our person. It just isn’t true. Our joy, happiness, and successes large and small are all ways to honor them.
  3. Monday morning quarterbacking has no upside. It’s easy to sit here with the benefit of hindsight, with all the information and knowing the outcome, and judge our former self. Our former self who didn’t have all the information, who didn’t know the outcome. Who was trying her best in an incredibly difficult situation. It’s a colossal energy expenditure with no benefit. In the worst of circumstances, you did your best given what you knew.
  4. Feelings are neither forever nor fatal. I was deeply afraid of falling into the depths of despair, so I tried to outrun the feelings by staying busy. Others try overspending, overeating, overdrinking, excessive scrolling, to name a few. None of it works. What we resist, persists. Feelings need to be felt.
  5. Judging the journey is a spin cycle of suffering. Notice thoughts like, “I should be further along by now.” “I’m back at square one.” “I’m not doing this right.” “I shouldn’t feel this way.” “I’m feeling sorry for myself.” “I’m wallowing.” Losing your person is hard enough. And then we judge our journey, piling heaps of suffering on top of the pain. What if it’s this hard to lose your person? To the degree we can stop judging our journey, we can then start moving forward more efficiently.
  6. The second worst case scenario is merely existing rather than living life on purpose. His heart stopped beating, but mine did not. At some point I decided that the one thing I could do for him is to live my life fully and intentionally.

I learned all of this thanks to coaching. And this is a sample of what we do inside of Life Reconstructed, my small group coaching program exclusively for widowed people.

Give yourself the gift of starting 2024 with certainty. There is a group starting in February and I hope you’ll join us. We apply these lessons and so much more. You’ll feel better right away, you’ll have the ideal tools to help you through each day, you’ll have a grief expert and certified professional coach to guide you, and a community of like-minded peers to support you.

Time doesn’t heal. Intentionality does. You’re just one decision away. Click below to learn more.

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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