It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything in my “Managing Grief” series, but it’s not because there was nothing more to suggest, simply I couldn’t write the words down. As many of you will know, there have been two bereavements in my own family in the last couple of months (my Dad and my aunt), and I think it’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve begun to truly grieve for them.
Anyway, onto today’s thoughts on how to manage your grief…
Be realistic in your expectations.
In Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies by Marta Felber, Marta writes the following:
My loved one died on January 25. Almost immediately, I began to dread the next Christmas without him, exactly 11 months away!
The way in which she coped with her anxiety about the coming Christmas was to plan carefully and keep her expectations realistic:
“Try to have reasonable expectations. There are important ways in which celebrations will not, and cannot, ever be the same again. So it is okay to plan for them to be different. Be realistic about what you can handle, both physically and emotionally. Be kind to yourself and nurturing.”
I can truly relate to those sentiments, as my Dad died on 21st February this year, and just a couple of weeks ago, on the 25th April, we had to cope with my Dad’s first birthday since he passed away. It was awful knowing that for the first time in my life we didn’t have to wonder what to buy Dad for his birthday, but, more importantly, we wouldn’t even be celebrating the day with Dad anymore. The 25th April was a working day
for me, and I can truthful tell you that I don’t know how I got through that day at work in one piece as my heart was most definitely with Dad.
I can only imagine how hard it was for Mum. However to make sure Mum wasn’t on her own all day, feeling sorry for herself and getting upset as Dad was no longer here, we took her out at night for a meal…not to celebrate Dad’s birthday but just to remember Dad on what would have been his special day. It turned out though that Mum had actually been out most of the day, as in the afternoon, she apparently went down to the nursing home Dad had been in (and died in), and spent time there with the nurses who had cared for, and looked after Dad so well during his time there.
We got through the first of our significant days since our two bereavements by setting realistic expectations, so I know it will work, so please try this for yourself.