Finding You After Caregiving & Loss

The fog of grief can be so dense and heavy that you may feel like you don’t know how to move forward, in what direction to take your next steps and what you can do to get back to living a ‘normal’ life again.

Over the past week, several of my clients and members of my Women Living Fully group have expressed similar feelings about how to move forward after caregiving and loss. Many were expressing that they didn’t know who they were now that their caregiving role was complete. Others were feeling the rawness of loss and felt like they were wandering through their day, grief stricken, and unsure how they could get back to who they once were.

After my mother died almost ten  years ago, I remember feeling like I was living in a very dense fog for months. It was like walking down a pathway where you couldn’t see two feet in front of you and yet, you longed to know where you were going.

I also remember telling a friend, the year after she had died, and I had started my bereavement studies, that I felt like someone took my life and threw it on the floor as though it was a puzzle, and I was now left to put the puzzle pieces together but I didn’t have the image on the box to show me how to put me, and my life, back together again.

You, or someone you know, may be feeling something similar. If you have lost a loved one, or recently went through a major life transition and you are grieving the life, and even, the person you once were, know that this is normal. It’s not easy. It’s frustrating. It’s painful. But it’s normal.

Grief will have you feeling like you want to rush through it, or numb it or go back in time when things didn’t hurt so much.

Know that you can’t run away from it. In fact, the more you try, the harder it is on you. Grief and loss are things we have to move through, one step, one moment, one day at a time.

To help you move through this period of loss, here are suggestions that may help you or someone that you know:

  1. Know that there is no going back to the person you once were. You are forever changed from your loss and your new normal is very different right now. To help you consolidate those feelings, do things that you love, that bring you joy, that bring you peace. If you enjoy nature, be in nature. If you like to colour or paint, do that. Do things that bring you to feel good from the inside, even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time.
  2. Be gentle on yourself. This is a very challenging time. This is all new to you and navigating this period of time will require you to be kind and gentle on yourself, and on others. Ensure self-care is at the top of each day’s priority list. For example, start the day with a bath or a quiet journaling exercise about the person that you love that you have lost. Remember the times that brought you joy and allow the tears to fall. Take self-care breaks during the day and nourish your body and your soul. If you are unable to think or focus on something for too long, do things that engage your body for a few minutes, like taking a walk, doing yoga or stretching exercises for a few minutes, listening to music and letting your body sway to the beat. Movement is important so do things on regular intervals to move your body.
  3. Surround yourself with a community or with people who love you and will not rush you through your grief. At Women Living Fully, we support each other. We do not rush anyone through their feelings. Instead, we allow you to feel what you are feeling, experience it fully so that they you can move through it with greater ease and peace. We support each other by sharing stories about what has worked for us so that they too can find things that will work for them and their loved ones. We nourish each other with love, kindness, and compassion. There is never any judgement and we keep experiences and sharing confidential. Find a group that can do that for you or join our group at Women Living Fully.

Know that this time of rediscovering you will come with challenging moments. Understand that on the other side of grief you will find you again, in a whole new way, and you will be ok.

If you have questions, or you would like to share your story of caregiving and loss, please reach out to me by using the Contact page or post in the comments below. You may also join our group at Women Living Fully. Together we are stronger. And you are not alone.

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