In fact, nothing about life, yourself, or even your senses may feel normal.
The death of a loved one is life’s most stressful event and it can result in a major decline in physical health decline, an emotional and mental health crisis, and other real complications in a survivor’s life.
You do not have to navigate it alone; there is hope even after such a severe loss.
On March 30, 2021, my whole existence changed; I felt shattered, gutted, and hollow. I was numb and on fire at the same time. Everything that I considered reality had been flipped upside down and inside out. I had undergone tectonic changes and I had been concussed by grief and I didn’t even recognize it yet.
It’s IMPORTANT for me to say clearly that my personal faith kept me grounded – I felt sad but was never in despair; grieving deeply but never without hope.
Viktor Frankl, in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, says…
Every one of us faces loss. Whether you find yourself there now or you are interested in supporting a friend through their grief, this workshop is designed for you.
“Kristie just gave probably the most fantastic talk on grief I've ever heard.” - C.B.
You’ve probably heard of the famous 5 Stages of Grief. I don’t share this model to discredit or disparage Dr. Kubler-Ross’s work, but only remove any guilt, shame, or expectation that misunderstanding it might have unintentionally imposed.
The truth is that everyone’s experience in grief is unique. While there are some similarities, grief does not follow a specific pattern and it certainly isn’t linear. We often feel one or more of the “stages” at the same time or in recurring waves; we might even have feelings that aren’t listed at all - and that’s okay. There is nothing tidy or ordered about grieving a loved one and we shouldn’t expect the process of going through or healing in it to be either.
I know that many people want to know “why” their loved one died; that is very understandable. However, I have not found that particular question helpful to me personally. I don’t think I’d understand or agree even if it could be answered.
Even years before my daughter died, I decided that “what now?” was a more useful question for me in the midst of very hard times. “What now” empowers me to do something even in situations that I cannot fix or change.
J. William Wordens 4 Tasks provided a model for much of the process I had already started. Finding this model proved helpful to me because it filled in some gaps in my thinking and it also provided me some comfort as I realized that, despite feeling out of my mind from grief, my instincts were intact and I was on a good path.
Aside from validating my personal experience, what I like most about this model is that it provides practical action that is within our control as we try to figure out how to continue living a quality life in the absence of our loved one.