The winter holiday season is officially over. Likely, most of us have gone back to our regular lives and established routines. And for those of us who have experienced the loss of a loved one, it’s usually around this time when many of us find ourselves grieving alone.
Time alone is needed, but with grieving, there is the common danger of pulling in too far, isolating others, and complicating the grieving process in doing so. The inclination to withdraw is particularly strong in those of us who’ve experienced the death of a close loved one, and it’s easy to come up with good reasons for doing so; however, isolation is not what’s needed.
It’s a reality that we are changed by loss. We may not feel that we fit in anymore. We may feel that we and others are better off if we stay away, but there is nothing lonelier than actually being alone constantly during a period of mourning. We must remember we need others and they need us.
Grief is painful, and it may seem as if there will be no end to the pain. Sometimes, we may think to ourselves that continually experiencing the pain of grief shows our love. But we must honestly ask ourselves, “Is this what my loved one would want?” We all know the answer to that. They would want us to find healing and happiness. I know that’s true in my case. Is it true for you too? I think so.
Therefore, take care of yourself. Take the time alone you need, but also take time to interact with others and do things that bring you joy. It’s okay to smile, it’s okay to again see beauty in the world around you, it’s okay to cry, and it’s also okay to laugh again.
There are many suggestions of things to do that help with healing for the grieving. You may want to do an online search for “grief and self care.” Consider the insight of others who have also suffered the loss of a loved one and then decide what appeals to you. But take note, mentioned in almost every list is “meaningfully connecting with others,” and on many lists is the suggestion to find and attend a grief support group (here's a listing of our upcoming group sessions). As one who never thought that a grief support group was something I needed, I have truly been amazed by the gains it has given me.
Take time alone, but not too much time alone.