It occurs to me that the navigation of re-entry that we are all facing has a great deal in common with the re-entry bereaved people face. It occurs to me that the navigation of re-entry that we are all facing has a great deal in common with the re-entry bereaved people face.

How do We Transition out of Grief?

Oct 29, 2021

by Molly Keating, MA, CT, O’Connor Mortuary

We are entering a familiar world with familiar places but the way we are experiencing them is altered. We are different, too.

So, what does it look like to transition from the deep sorrow of one place into the space where the sorrow has been more digested, is more manageable and incorporated into our lives?

How do we transition out of grief?

I believe, when we ask this question, we are really saying – “when can I get back to living?” or “when can I stop being sad?”

Life lesson time:

1. Grieving is part of living.

2. You have permission to stop feeling sad whenever you want to. Being bereaved doesn’t mean you must remain and always be sad. Being bereaved means you lost something that caused tremendous pain. There is sadness and there is transition and learning to live with the loss.

3. Taking each day at a time is wise and removing guilt or “shoulds” is necessary.

Re-entering the world after huge loss

For bereaved people, this largely means taking on the monumental task of writing a new narrative while also cherishing the old one. For example, a widow goes out for drinks with girlfriends to a place she previously frequented with her husband – she’s prepared to do this but knows it will be hard. There’s tenderness in those memories and simultaneously there’s a new story waiting and new memories to be made.

This is what a transition out of grief can look like. It’s hopeful, it’s full of movement, and it’s open to change.

COVID has taught us all SO much about change. How instantly change can come, how devastating it can be, and how we can come out of it all into a world we still feel hopeful about.

Will we ever be the same?

No.

But that is true at the end of every day (hopefully), right? We are people with the potential to always change and grow and that is beautiful. We can never be ready for forced change like death – but we can slowly, adapt and still find a way forward.

So, as we open our doors to summer and a season of warmth and leisure, lets collectively bask in the need of this time to be warmed and rested. We are not done changing, we are not done learning, we are not done living. On this side of resurrection, I’m grateful for all of those truths. Here’s to stepping out into transition.


Photo Molly KeatingO’Connor Mortuary
25301 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Hills, CA 92653
(949) 581-4300
www.oconnormortuary.com

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