When Nothing Feels the Same – Getting Through Loss & Transition
“I felt like the puzzle pieces of my life had been thrown across the floor and now I was left to put them back together. I was going through so much after her death. The pieces didn’t seem to fit together anymore and many of them I just didn’t recognize. How was I supposed to put the pieces of my life back together again? I just didn’t know what I was going to do.”
This was how I felt after my mother died in 2007. I thought I had prepared myself for her to be gone, since she had cancer for several years and I felt that I had mentally prepared myself for her to no longer be in my life. I also knew that she would not want me to dwell and grieve for long. She’d want me to move on, move forward with my life. I thought I was ready. I thought I was prepared.
On June 18th, 2007, by herself in her hospital room, Mom took her last breath. I was not there when I told I would be. I was not there when I wanted to be. I was not there.
For a long time, not only did I grieve her loss, I was crushed with guilt. “I was supposed to be there!”, I kept telling myself.
Ten years later, after immersing myself in four years of bereavement and grief studies, including funeral services as an added kick, and then working with families and individuals going through so much loss, I find myself on this side of grief and transition.
I am in no way out of the woods though, with my son having gotten married last April and my daughter on her way out as a college student, I know that my time of transition is ever present.
And yet, I have come to learn so much, and I have come to teach, guide and support others too. I have become a guide to so many going through losses and times of transitions of their own.
This week, after speaking with a client who is going through a separation and divorce, I shared with her how I felt after Mom died. It truly did feel like the puzzle pieces of my life had been thrown across the floor and I was to put them back together, when nothing seemed recognizable, or seemed to fit together. In fact, nothing seemed the same.
She absolutely got the metaphor and said she felt the same, too.
It prompted this Facebook Live:
When you are going through a time of deep loss, transition and change, so much of your life will seem so different, unrecognizable and nothing may not seem to fit together anymore. As you move through this experience, this chapter of your life, here are some suggestions to help you:
- Be gentle on yourself. Comfort yourself and know you’ll be ok during this time of in transition. Although it feels so hard, in fact it may feel like the hardest thing you’ve ever had to go through, know that you are ok and that you will get through this. What you are feeling is the uncertainty, the pain of grief and loss, and the unrecognizable place that you are in your life. Be gentle on yourself and know that it’s normal to feel what you are feeling.
- Be curious about what you can let go. You have so much already in your life to deal with and go through. What can you let go? Extra work? Stress? Physical stuff in your life? Notice what you may have in your life that is no longer a benefit to you. Yes, that can also mean negative people, or experiences that just don’t nourish you any longer. Start to be open to what you can let go so that it can free up the space in your life, in your heart, in your journey, for what will comfort you, nourish you and help you moving forward.
- Change your environment, change your routine. Get unstuck, at least for a moment, by changing the routines you have as daily rituals. If you follow a sequence of tasks in the morning to get ready for your day, change it up. Rather than shower first before having breakfast, have breakfast then shower. If you take a specific route to work every day, take a different route. Or change it up on your way home. And secondly, get out of your environment. Get out during the day and go for a walk, work in a new space. Change your routine and your environment and notice how it shifts things for you.
It’s not easy to go through transition, a time of uncertainty and a time of loss.
Take care of you! And know that you are not alone.
If you’d like to join the Women Living Fully community, do reach out and request to join. It’s a judgement-free zone for women, like you or someone that you know, to connect with others to share experiences, insights and knowledge, stories and resources, to help each other to let go, move forward and live fully. If you are interested, request to join us today.