In Grief; When Can I Stop The Process

By: Marty Tousley
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Grief comes in three stages: the beginning, the middle, and the rest of your life.  ~ Candace Lightner

How will I know when I can stop the grieving process?

My friend, I have to ask you a question. If you had lost one of your limbs, would it be appropriate for someone to ask when you would stop noticing / missing / grieving the absence of your leg or your arm?

It seems to me that losing your beloved spouse is not unlike losing a significant part of yourself, as if half of you is gone. Grief is not an illness from which you will recover; it more closely resembles an amputation. Although an essential part of you has been severed and is no longer there in a physical way, you still remember vividly how much that part meant to you. While over time you may grow accustomed to your plight, to some extent you will struggle every day of your life to accommodate and adjust to the physical absence of that important part of you.

This loss of your beloved wife will be with you for the rest of your life. That is not to say that you will always mourn as intensely as you are grieving now, but you will never, ever forget your beloved. As you have already discovered, rather than recovering from your physical loss of her, you are finding ways to incorporate her life and her love into the rest of your own life. She is a part of you and always will be, and sometimes you will remember her with joy, and other times with tears. Both are okay.

Adjusting to your wife's physical absence in your life is not the same as "accepting" her death, either. We all must understand the fact that our precious loved ones have died and it is real, but there are some things in life that simply aren't acceptable. Some things are a mystery, beyond our understanding, and we all must find a way to live with them, just as you are doing now.


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