Moving Forward -> New Normal
First step is grieving; you will have spent time mourning your loss. Only you know what that timetable looks like for you. There is a grieving period that likely has taken you through the swirls of the grief journey (commonly known as stages). See this link for a resource on the common stages of grief.
Once you get to a place of acceptance and stay there for a while then you are likely ready to move forward with life and work towards that new normal. Acceptance means you acknowledge the loss, you know life is different. You might not be happy about it but you are willing to accept it. Acceptance may take some time, it might start as a few moments of acceptance, or you may even be relieved if your loved one suffered.
For me, after Kris died, I remember thinking I’d never find a new normal and certainly could never imagine being happy or blissful ever again. Eventually, I realized, I was alive, I had survived, and I had years left of my life. I was suffocated with the - OK so NOW What? What on earth do I do? How does one begin to move forward? It’s all baby steps, one day at a time. Do what you can with what you have.
For Jeni, she defines normal as “a setting on the washing machine that nobody uses.” Normal is not to be chased or found. However, she had to travel that grief journey to find new “routines” and new ways to be happy and to find peace with everything. Taking it one day at a time (sometimes one minute or one second at a time) until that day when she could move forward.
As a coach, I now take people through a set of exercises to help them move forward.
Here are 5 Steps To Moving Forward Towards a New Normal
- Make a list of ALL the losses that went with this change.
- List them all. This is making sure you’ve actually taken time to consider ALL that you lost.
- Take time to mourn the losses you’ve experienced from your new list.
- It’s part of the process to move forward to grieve those losses. In our list making there may be new losses you had not considered. My lawn mowing person, the man who did…
- Describe what you’ve overcome before when you have experienced a life change or death of loved one.
- What changes have you overcome before?
- Has anyone close to you died before? How did you heal (or not heal from that?)?
- Think of all the changes and losses you may have already experienced – moves, graduation, births, other deaths, job and career changes.
- List them all - take your time to remember those.
- What skills and resources can you use from previous changes or losses?
- What did you do that was helpful?
- Who might be a resource?
- List them all.
- Be as descriptive as you can.
- How can you tap into those resources?
- Think of all the creative ways you’ve overcome change and loss before.
- Describe all of the resources, physical, people, emotional, spiritual, etc.
- BONUS TIP - Pick one Action you will take
- What resource will you use?
- Who will you call for support, help, or just to talk to?
- What one thing can you do to move forward?
- Consider what control and choices do you have about this new normal?
Here's to your grief journey and working towards acceptance and finding that "new normal."
Peace, Love, & Blessings,
Teresa Bitner, PMP, M. Ed., ACC
Jeni and I would love for you to share your story - be it on new normal or the lack of, flowers, plants or other funeral stories, memorial or just your special story. We would love to learn from you. SHARE YOUR STORY!