Grieving life’s losses and finding your new normal
Grief is a natural response to loss and although we normally associate grief with the death of a loved one, the fact is that any loss can cause grief, including serious illness.I have been reflecting a lot lately on how grief over the death of a loved one, a divorce, relationship or friendship breakup, the pain of infertility, pregnancy loss or an illness such as cancer all have a great deal in common.
I recently read a piece written by Corinne Edwards, author of When Your Husband Has Died, A Survival Guide, and much of what she had to say about the nature of grief and finding your new normal, struck me deeply on many levels.
The old normal is gone…after a period of intense pain, you’ll be different. The person you were is gone. It is an amputation. Eventually, a new person will emerge. It will be the new normal. A new life will start to take shape, but the limb you lost won’t grow back. You will have something in common with a soldier who bravely runs a marathon despite having a prosthesis for a leg…This new person will have a life which includes peace, love and even laughter, community and new friendships. It can and will happen in your own time.
Dana Jennings, whose New York Times articles on cancer, I know many of you, like me admire, had this to say about the nature of grief following cancer:
Partly, I think, I’m grieving for the person I was before I learned I had cancer. Mortality is no longer abstract, and a certain innocence has been lost.
Have you struggled to find your new normal again after cancer, bereavement, illness, or any of life’s challenges? Are there any words of support you can give to those who may still be struggling?