Making Changes After Your Loss
Making Changes After Your Loss
By Dan Langerock
Have you looked at the way people change after they have experienced the loss of a loved one? Maybe this change has been in you? Has your preference for the colors of your wardrobe altered, say from pastels to darker colors? Have you stopped doing the things you used to like to do because it just doesn’t feel the same anymore? Maybe you feel like a “third wheel”?
These are all natural and okay as long as they aren’t taken to an extreme. One lady I talked to lost a child and a husband, a job and her home, along with a lot of other parts of her life. She became a recluse because of it, having a fear of going out in public. She is gradually getting over this, but it is a battle for her. I mentioned to her that all the things she told me were associated with grief: the loss of a child and husband, her job, a home, personal security, etc. She had never thought of her losses in this light. Have you thought along this vein about the losses you have experienced in life?
Death is not the only reason for grieving. Did you know people also grieve good things, such as a promotion? Why? The added responsibility, among other things, contributes to this feeling. Whenever your circumstances change, even for the better, it is an adjustment for you to make. How well you negotiate this change will determine the length of time you grieve about it.
Let’s take a common example: You’ve just sold your large house and opted for a smaller one because you don’t need all that room anymore. The yard was too much upkeep, and you want to simplify your life among other reasons. You move into the new home, but the lack of room you had before makes it seem more cramped. You have to buy a few pieces of furniture to accommodate your new needs. Even though your move was beneficial to you, you are still adjusting. In time, this feeling usually passes and you become used to your new changes, and life goes on.
Another scene could be that you are not able to care for yourself as before, and have to look into different living arrangements such as assisted living. If this decision is not gradual but forced on you in a short length of time, you may grieve the loss of familiar surroundings for a longer period of time. If someone else has to make that decision for you, perhaps without consulting your wishes as you would like, it can also prolong the adjustment.
These types of alterations in your normal way of doing things or rapid changes can cause rifts in your family relations, further adding to your problems. The onset of a stroke or Alzheimer’s can also make these rapid changes necessary, although unpleasant.
We have discussed a broad range of changes in this article, but it is to good purpose to do so, to acquaint you with the different scenarios that can lead to discomfort among other feelings in your life. Have you discussed these types of things with your family and friends, putting your exact wishes on paper in the form of medical and financial powers of attorney? It is prudent to do this before the time arrives, so that others will know your wishes if you cannot communicate them adequately;. If you change your mind about something therein, you are free to change them, but get them in writing and meet with those who will be responsible if this should happen.
You may never need these, but it is good to be prepared. Give one copy to your doctor, and to others who will be responsible for your care. Take one with you whenever you go to the hospital so they are aware of your wishes as well. No one likes to think about these outcomes, but it is better to be prepared and not need it than to have it the other way---which leads to more problems instead of helping you. If you are going through various things that you aren’t familiar with, seek help. It is there for you to access, but you must make the choice to do it
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