For some who are grieving, the passage of time holds hope that the pain of loss will be softened. For others, there is sadness that as the days and months pass, they are further away from their loved one. Neither feeling is necessarily true.
Time does soften the pain but this does not mean that you won’t have waves of intense pain and longing even as time passes. Holiday periods are particularly poignant and difficult, especially when it appears that many are celebrating.
So what tools can you use to feel a bit better? Know that these grief waves will pass. What you feel today will not be what you will feel next week. It will change. Feelings pass and feelings change. Also, do your best to take care of yourself physically. Drink plenty of water. Comfort food does indeed seem to comfort but try not to over-indulge. Keep a journal. Even if you write only a few sentences, this marks time that often appears to pass slowly. With a journal you can review how your grief journey is progressing when sometimes it feels that it isn’t progressing at all.
As far as feeling that you are further from your loved one, if your loss is more recent then you may want to have a “sacred” place to visit in order to reflect on your relationship with your loved one. Some people set up memorial gardens. Some people visit the cemetery. Some use their journal to write letters to their loved one. At some point in time, this may stop and that’s okay.
Your relationship with your loved one has changed in the physical realm but depending on your beliefs, you may still feel connected spiritually. And remember that the love bond never dies.
I’m currently at Lake Tahoe where my mom and dad built a cabin when I was seven years old. There are so many wonderful memories here. They have been gone many years ago but their loving spirits are all around. My siblings and I scattered my dad’s ashes on the ski hill near the cabin. So walking or skiing down that run, I pay my respects to my parents.