JUSTin Time: The Power Behind a Red Door

“Reinvest in life”

Continuing on through “Grief’s 5 stages and recovery tasks,” this post deals finding a new normal.

1. Accept the loss and face it honestly. This also means taking an inventory of other significant losses in the life of the one grieving and considering the secondary losses related to the primary one.

2. Release emotions. Grieve honestly and don’t cover up your feelings.

3. Store good memories. Carry good memories of the person who was lost in your heart. Recovering does not mean forgetting.

4. Separate your identity from the person, from what you have lost.

5. Reinvest in life. Part of the healing process is to begin to think and act outside yourself.

Acceptance. This is the final stage of grief, the one some of us will struggle the most with.

What we commonly think of as acceptance is being okay with the fact that our love one is gone. Accepting that they are now at piece and no longer suffering through their cancer. Accepting that we will no longer be able to physically hold our loved one again.

Kind of depressing to think of acceptance, isn’t it?

Today, on the 5-year anniversary of my own husbands death, I’ve chosen to accept the grief and let it into my life. To honor and remember Justin today, but escaping from the world of work. For me, I’ve accepted that I need a certain days a year (the anniversary of his death, our wedding anniversary and his birthday) to accept the grief that on many days I try to hid.

No, I do not lock myself away from the rest of the world on these days. That would be letting myself be overwhelmed by grief rather than accepting to. To accept it, I’ll think about the good times I had with Justin. I’ll visit the cemetery. I’ll have dinner with friends who miss him, too. I’ll accept that even though he’s no longer physically a part of my life, that he’ll forever be a part of me.

But, please, don’t thing of acceptance as “holding on” or not “moving forward.”

Acceptance is also a time to reinvest your life. How are you going to cater to that new identity we discussed last month?

Widows/Widowers – Are you going to accept that there may be someone else out there for you? Reinvesting yourself in the possibility of love? In a second chance at it?

Parents – Are you going to accept that no matter how brief, you were bless in the miracle of live? Reinvesting yourself, perhaps, but

Children – Are you going to accept that your lost parent(s) is still watching over you? Reinvesting yourself by living a life they would have been proud of?

I think we all also struggle with accepting that others don’t always feel the raw grief that we feel. At times, they even expect us to be okay 1 year, 2, maybe 3 years out. But they don’t know what we’re going through. We can’t even fully comprehend what each other is going through because grief is unique to everyone.

The key is, we can only truly heal if we are open to the opportunities life still has for us. Reinvesting our focus in living rather than being overwhelmed by grief is perhaps the best way to honor our lost loved ones.

I’ve been reinvesting my life by obtaining my MSW so I wan work with all of you through Gilda’s Club – something I think would make Justin proud.

How do you choose to accept your lose and reinvest your life?

– Kelly

Kelly Hendershot has been active with Gilda’s Club since 2008 as a family member, bereaved, intern, group facilitator and president of the Associate Board.