Sometimes, I think when we can go too far to normalize grief experiences – particularly with the death of children. Then we hear things like “you never ever ever forget” or “you will grieve forever” or “we think of our children every second of every day.”
These statements are false – and dangerous.
The truth is there are moments and hours along the process of healing when we do forget, we don’t grieve, and we forget about our children or loved one. There are times when we get caught up in the act of living life and we let go. THIS is normal. This is living after loss. We will remember again, we will grieve and think of them again…but we do let go and that’s ok, that’s normal.
The grief process is one of movement. We move through it. The intensity of it will ebb and flow, the emotion of it will come and go, and our experience of it will shift and change along the way.
To hear – and believe – statements such as those above will only complicate and bring guilt into the process. We can start to question or “guilt” ourselves about our experiences. We start to say thing to ourselves such as “I laughed and felt ok for a while – does this mean I’m a horrible mother who doesn’t love my child?” or “Oh my god, I haven’t thought about him all day. How could I forget him?”
The truth is that when our children or loved ones were living – we didn’t think of them every second of every day. In the process of living, there were times we forgot about them, didn’t think of them, and let them go from our minds.
It’s no different after they have died.
Life, and grief, are processes of holding on and letting go. Holding on and letting go. Over and over and over again.
That’s what’s normal. It’s all ok.
You are allowed to laugh and smile. You are allowed to cry. You’re allowed to feel wildly emotional – or to feel calm and peaceful.
You are allowed to hold on. And you are allowed to let go.