Moving forward after loss is probably one of the trickiest parts of grieving to describe, let alone do. Mostly that’s because we are all unique, with different experiences and goals which makes it highly individual (just like grieving and mourning).
That also means that even the phrase “moving forward” means something a little different for each of us. For one person, moving forward is every single moment of their life after the death and for another, it’s that place when the numbness and shock have worn off and you “know” it’s time to think about rebuilding your life. Some of us get to that place in weeks, others in months, some might take years. There’s no right beyond what is right for you.
I think it pays to be aware that there will likely be times when you have to really push through a lot of fear and anxiety in order to move forward. For many of us the process of moving forward brings up feelings that we are somehow being disloyal to our deceased spouse.
When I first started the process of moving forward with my own life, I often had to remind myself that I was not building a better life (or a worse life for that matter)—it was just a different life. The other thing that helped was to remember that everything that I held dear had, once upon a time, been new and unknown—including Jerry. Developing affirmations can be really helpful as you start the process. It helps to choose to look at this phase as an adventure instead of a chore. Sometimes the words we choose, even when talking to ourselves, make a big difference!
One thing is fairly certain: progress is something that tends to come in bursts and, for most of us, is a process of two steps forward, one step back. You can read a little more about my experience with this in the blog entry titled “How I Began to Really Save My Life.”