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The Beginnings of Reconstruction- Meaning and Purpose

This discussion is about a mostly emotional part of grief that may be even harder to address than the physical aspects of trying to move forward. It’s about building emotional foundations for the future. What constructive things we do here can set the stage and give us a strong base on which to build during the healing processes to come. Our approach to healing can play a large role in how our healing and our grief journey as a whole progresses as we start to reconstruct our lives. 

waves of grief

I say this often, but can we find a way to use our grief and the reconstruction that accompanies it in a positive way to grow as people and become more?

Questions and possibilities to think about going forward…

How can we allow the next part of our lives to still contain our love and our connections with our loved ones? How can we allow the next part of our lives to reflect and honor our spouses or partners? Can we choose to do things and become more of the person we, or they, would approve or affirm us becoming? Can we change things about ourselves or become better at things we already are? Can we do these things in their honor and as a gift to them and to ourselves, believing that we will become better for our efforts? Will the focus it takes to do things like this promote healing?

These changes are things we may not have had time to do or the will to do in the middle of our everyday lives. In our bereavement, we have a lot of time to fill and that time may now be available for us to learn, change and grow in. Choosing to do these things in a direction our spouses or partners would have loved for us to do is also a very powerful way to honor them. As we do this, can we find a way to begin to look forward towards the future more of the time, and reduce the amount of time we spend looking backward toward the past?

In a similar way, what would our loved ones want us to do or be as we grieve? Can we also honor our loved ones by giving them the gift of us grieving and learning and growing as graciously as possible, with as much strength as possible, with as much courage as possible, however that looks for us? 

Since we grieve because we love, as we move forward in our journeys, we have an opportunity to do it as another act of love. When we are ready, can we choose to face our grief with purpose? Can we choose to experience and face it in ways that honor our loved ones? Can we accept it and surrender to it and move through it to honor our spouses and partners and the love we shared while we learn to stand and live again, each in our own way and in our own time?

Finding meaning and purpose as we start to restructure our lives:

A loss of meaning and purpose is something most spouses and partners experience as a significant part of their grief. At some level, our spouse or partner and our love for each other were central to all the meaning and purpose we had in our relationship and in our lives.

Since our shared meaning and purpose has been taken from us, as part of the healing process, we now need to find a way to redefine meaning and purpose for ourselves alone. We now need to learn how to create and use a new meaning and purpose to guide us, to help fill the empty places in our lives, and to give us reasons to live again. We need to find ways and reasons to go forward in our lives and possibly, to find what we can to dedicate ourselves to that will give us a reason to go on. 

Finding a new meaning and purpose in our lives can become a “full time job”. 

Unfortunately, as with many parts of grief and the reconstruction process, there isn’t an easy or straight forward answer that everyone can use. There is no universal map or rule-book… We all have to find our own way and our own meaning and purpose. At some point, we have to figure out how to identify a new meaning and purpose for ourselves. 

It may take lots and lots of self examination and questioning as well as a lot of trial and error to see if we can find things that would be meaningful to us now. We also need to accept that it’s important to do and that we need to do it without our loved ones, whether we like it or not. Then we have to find ways to bring those things into our lives and make them part of who and what we are going forward. Nothing easy about that at all!


  • Have you felt the loss of meaning and purpose in your life?
  • Does the lack of meaning and purpose make it hard to find reasons to do things?
  • Do you think that the loss of meaning and purpose is significant in keeping you from wanting to move forward in your life?
  • Can you begin to think of ways to create new meaning and purpose?
  • How can you find what those new meanings and purposes might look like and be?
  • What might you do to help you find them?
  • How do you define meaning and purpose now?
  • How can you begin to actualize a new meaning and purpose in your life once you find it?