Living a New Life

In time, the day will arrive when you notice, perhaps with surprise, that memories of your loved one no longer fill every waking moment, that instead of counting hours or days, you have changed to weeks, maybe even months. Your most painful memories lose some of their sting and become more bearable. You begin to feel once again that your own life is important and needs your attention. For some survivors, this re-entry into a more active life may evoke momentary feelings of guilt and a fear of forgetting the one who died. But do not worry; your cherished memories will stay with you; your loved one will always be a part of your life. It is, however, a part of your life which is your past and it need not hinder you from living in the present. Accepting that thought can free you to live again, not your old life, but a new one.

About this time, friends and family members alike may also become somewhat impatient with your grief, you may notice that their calls and visits are now less and less frequent. While the sadness and loneliness you feel still weigh heavily on your heart, you realize that much of your grief work has to be done in solitude and that getting on with the rest of your life depends on you, alone, and your own inner resources.

Now is a good time to sit back and take stock of your situation: How has your scale of values changed? What is important to you now? What friends do you choose to be with? What do you wish to do and can you do to make your life meaningful? If identifying long term goals seems impossible at this point, start with a series of short term goals, such as joining an exercise class, returning to school, finding a job, finishing an abandoned project, signing up as a volunteer, taking up a new hobby, learning to drive a car, pursuing a sport that you previously had little time for. The possibilities are numerous. You might consider renewing contacts with old friends or seeking an activity that will allow you to make new ones. Sit down and make a list of what you wish for yourself and a list of your skills and talents - most people have far more to offer than they realize. Involvement with others can help you regain a sense of stability and usefulness and help you discover new interests. Taking responsibility for your life again, or perhaps for the first time, is an important step toward recovery and the acceptance of what has happened to you.