12 Weeks of Peace
Week 12: Moving Forward
This is our final week together, but it’s not your final week of grief. Week 12 is all about you. We want you to be reminded of everything you have accomplished. Even though it hasn’t been easy, you’re still here and you should be proud of that. For our final week together, we will give you some final advice on sinking back into your normal routine, how to know if you are actually recovering, realistic expectations, and some perspectives you can use going forward. Remember, this doesn’t have to be the end of our journey. Come back to the different parts of 12 Weeks of Peace as frequently as you need, share it with friends and family if you think it could help them, and don’t ever lose hope. Thank you for letting us help you through this process.
Day 78: Was I Ready for This?
If you were faced with a sudden and unexpected loss, you may have been forced into making complicated decisions during the most distressing of times. Planning and figuring out how to pay for arrangements in the midst of grief can be upsetting, and make the process harder than it already is. In the future, preparing end-of-life arrangements in advance could make the process much smoother. You and your loved ones can have peace of mind that all potential plans are in place, and you won’t have to face a loss unprepared again.
Day 79: Getting Back in the Swing of Things
Resuming everyday activities can be a slippery slope. You don’t want to spend an unnecessarily long amount of time in isolated grief, but you also shouldn’t push yourself beyond what you’re ready for. In such instances, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. Listen to your body, pay attention to your emotions, and gauge your reactions. Take a few steps forward. If that seems all right, keep going. If you feel you’ve gone too far, take a step back. This will very much be a process of trial and error. Just be patient, and get back into your routine at whatever pace you need.
Day 80: What Can Grief Do?
Grief can destroy you – or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.
~ Dean Koontz
Day 81: Surviving the Impossible
What could be more difficult in life than overcoming the loss, sudden or expected, of someone you love? It seems to be a daunting and impossible feat.
But you are still here. You didn’t think you were strong enough, but you were. Grief proves that we are capable of handling much more than we may know. And spending a day crying or angry doesn’t mean that you have succumbed. Every morning when you open your eyes and get out of bed, you have won. Even if you slip and stumble along the way, what matters most is that you keep trying.
Day 82: What's the Point?
What’s the point in loving someone? Why should I open myself up to the possibility of having my heart broken? Wouldn’t be easier just to shut everyone out? Then I would never have to lose anyone again.
Many people feel this way after a loss. They feel the pain of the grief outweighs the joy of loving someone. In the midst of deep sorrow, it is understandable that one would have such thoughts. This may seem like a foolproof approach. After all, you can’t suffer the grief of losing someone if you aren’t close to anyone in the first place. But the truth is the exact opposite. Having that kind of love in your life is what helps you get through the worst days. Blocking yourself from it will not erase pain in your life, but it will render you completely alone when pain does strike.
The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things or make them unimportant.
~ Steven Moffat
Day 83: How Do I Know I'm Recovering?
It’s easy to get so lost on the journey that you don’t even realize how far you’ve come. Take a moment to reflect. Examine your own thoughts and feelings. Here are some signs that you’re learning to live with your loss.
- You have returned to your normal mental, emotional, and physical functions in your life
- You don’t find yourself having to repress painful thoughts
- Your symptoms of grief are lessening in impact
- You are able to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty
- You no longer feel exhausted or wound up all the time
- You can accept the help, support, and condolences of others
- You find yourself making and looking forward to future plans
Don’t worry if you don’t feel that all, or any, of these examples apply to you. This is simply a map of signs that signal a particular spot on your grief journey, but there is no rush for you to get there any faster than you need to.
Day 84: The End of Our Journey, Not Yours
This is the end of our journey, but it is not the end of yours. You may grieve, heal, mourn, cry, and recover, over and over again. We spoke earlier about saying goodbye to a loved one in the sense of accepting their death, but you will never say goodbye to them from your life. From the funeral or memorial service and packing up their belongings, to remembering their birthday and talking about them with friends and family, you are going to mourn them and love them forever. You may feel that you are well on your way to recovery, or you may feel exactly as you did when you first got the news; maybe you’re somewhere in-between. This is not a how-to manual, with steps that you must complete in a particular order. It is simply a guide and a resource to show you that you are not alone, and that there is hope for you. Stay strong when you can, fall apart when you need to, pick up the pieces, and keep trying. All anyone can do is live one day at a time, but now you will do so with a guardian angel watching over you.