Love is perhaps the most vital of experiences for happiness.
The love you can have for your partner can feel different for the love you have for your kids (if you have them – and yes furry ones count ), and again different for your close family and friends.
It’s the degree of attachment, the closeness of the bond between you and them that helps to make life meaningful. So when somebody dies or leaves your life it can be intensely painful!
There are the memories of what was good and connecting, as well as the not so good memories, all intwined with how they left you. There’s the initial adjustment with waves of grieving sadness, disbelief, denial, anger, withdrawing away. Often people find it difficult to be reminded of the places, activities and things that remind them of the person. It’s important even at the early stages to gradually meet the feelings of grief, to know them, to own them, your feelings, that is, and what they are about. And to recognise that you can go on.
I remember a person I was helping adjust through the grief of losing his father who described not being able to cope when a specific song was played.
He told me the song would often come on the radio, and at restaurants and at random places that you wouldn’t expect it to. It was like the song was following him – and every time he heard it he’d become very teary and feel compelled to go home which became a problem for him being at work and socialising. I asked him to go home and do a form of exposure therapy – which was to deliberately play the song over and over, allowing himself to feel his emotions as well as remember his Dad, until the song became something he could listen to again.
He came back the following week and told me that he was surprised by how quickly it worked. By about the sixth listening he could listen to the song calmly.
In some ways anniversaries are like how the song was for this man. Anniversaries tend to remind us of the times the person we loved was there and part of things.
Whether it’s Easter, Christmas, birthdays or a family specific anniversary, they all serve as reminders of the good and not so good feelings. The love and how we miss that person.
Even years down the track people describe missing the people they loved. It’s how we come to terms with missing them and continuing to live our lives, marrying our love of them with the funny, irrational, irritating, annoying people they were too ! (Fill in your own descriptors).
If Easter is a reminder for you, I invite you to bravely step into your grief, and celebrate the person you knew and wish to remember. Express some words, feelings, memories in honour of the person you loved and try to enjoy the easter break with your loved ones.
If you need to speak to someone our friendly team here at Revive can help. Please contact us here.