One client shared with me that initially following her bereavement she felt like she was in a fog and couldn’t fathom how she was going to survive. Months went by, and she realized she would survive her grief whether she liked it or not, but she still couldn’t see her future. This is normal.
It’s extremely difficult to see a future when you are in the cocoon of grief. In fact, you’re not supposed to be planning for the future unless you absolutely must. Your job is to take care of yourself, nurture yourself in that cocoon. In the immediate aftermath of losing a loved one, you may see no light, and that’s okay. The light would be blinding to your sensitive eyes. You are vulnerable and must be gentle with yourself.
Several months later, the same client shared, “I now see that I have a future, but I still cannot say what it is or even that I’m yet looking forward to it.” Your future will happen for you if you are open to the possibility of one. It will happen in unexpected ways. You may be surprised. It’s possible.
Note: Most people do not have the luxury of staying in the safe cocoon 24/7, and that usually isn’t healthy anyway. We must continue to take care of ourselves. We must also take care of our responsibilities: raising kids, buying groceries, paying bills. Do these necessary steps even when we don’t want to. Or better yet, ask for help getting some of those tasks done.
The impact if you don’t take care of the business of living will be overwhelming paralysis, and that’s not a good place to be stuck. When you accomplish some tasks, if you’re able, know it is then okay to return to the cocoon for however long your life allows. Notice the ebb and flow—good days, bad days, rest and responsibilities. This is not the time to prove your A-type personality. Learn to rest when you can.