Dealing with the material world – Life goes on, Reconstruction begins.
There are things that have to be done to get us through the day, through the funeral and internment, through all the financial and business types of things that still continue even though our lives seem to have stopped. And we may still have to go to work and function or try to function everyday.
Although we are often immobilized by our early grief, there are things that not only need to be done, but we need to do them. Finding our way through this seeming contradiction is one of the very hardest of the early lessons we have to learn and we all have to find our own way to do them and learn them.
Allowing people to help you is usually a good thing. Being strong and doing as much as you can is good also but when it becomes overwhelming, if there are people you trust available to share the work and help you to keep your focus and your strength, it’s ok to do that for as long and as much as is helpful. Seeking professional help or being part of a support group are also very positive ways to “dilute” the burden we are shouldering, especially early on.
You probably can’t turn all your affairs over entirely, and it’s important to not let other people make decisions for you that you need to make but help is always good if it’s available. If it’s not, then sometimes time is your friend, sometimes you just have to hold on, go forward when you can, take breaks, let your grief wash over you and then pick yourself up and go at it again.
Going back to work is always a challenge we’ve talked about before. We never get enough time to grieve, to get through the most intense parts of our grieving before we are expected to be back doing what we have always done and to face the “get over it” energy of other peoples expectations. People often don’t understand or know how or what to say or do and it can be painful or even hurtful when they say or do things that seem insensitive to you at the time. Mostly they are probably trying to be kind and helpful but really don’t know how and so some of it may come across badly.
A difficult part of going back to work that we haven’t talked about seems to be finding the focus to do your job, to think clearly, to do the tasks in front of you, to remember what you did 20 minutes ago. To be able to interact without crying all the time. To go through a meeting and actually know what was said or to know what you need to say.
Pretty much anything that needs focus is a challenge since focus is one of the things we have the least of at this time. I believe it’s ok to take a “grief moment” and step away when you need to and then come back to the task or meeting and go forward. Some people may not understand, but it’s your grief and you have a right to let it express as you need to and in some ways fit the other parts of your life around your grieving rather than fitting your grieving into the other parts of your life.
How do we talk to and deal with the professionals, trades people and others who we need to deal with? How do we make decisions about arrangements that may or may not have been made in advance?
Again, help from trusted friends and family can help us get through all these things but in the end you have to find a way to do it or have it done your way, in your own time and in what ever order and whatever way you can find. I believe it’s important to be careful when you turn things over to someone who may do it their way and not yours.
I talked to someone recently about this subject and they were very newly bereaved and still in “shock” from what had happened but they were also responsible for putting on and attending a child’s wedding. The main comments I took away from the conversation that apply here is first that it was pretty confusing having extreme sadness on one hand and the joy of the wedding on the other. Also, the entire event was done in a fog but grief was put aside and what had to be done got done. The importance of making the wedding a happy and special event overrode the grief for that period of time but once everyone left and the needs of the wedding were done, the person knew it was going to “hit me” and the grieving process was going to begin to take over.
This is something I’ve heard in other versions and situations before and I have a favorite quote from Andi that seems to encapsulate the feelings and the ability to do what needs to be done.
“You never know how strong your are until you have to be”. aaf
Yet again, its your life and your grief and everything should get as much input from you as you feel you need to give, pretty much everywhere along the way. Do what you can, do what you must and if you do turn things over to others, try to let them do it and not find fault if it is different from how you might have done it if you had been able to. If you really don’t like how or what someone is doing for you, you can ask them to step back or stop and return the task to you so it can be done more as you would wish it to be done.