I have been working with a client who is going through her “year of firsts” after losing her grandmother. This time is one of process; one in which we go through the first year, weaving through the stages of grief and learning how to live without our loved one. It is also a time to honour our family member at each “first;” birthdays, holidays, special events so as to both recognize their missed presence and acknowledge the valued place they held in our lives.
This particular young woman is struggling with looking at pictures of her grandmother as it brings her such sadness; yet a dissonance is created, as she so desperately wants to see her grandmother’s smile. She further shared that hearing “your grandmother would not want you to feel so sad all of the time,” is both comforting (as she knows it to be true), yet uneasy as she feels as though somehow it is a catch all phrase when others don’t know how to handle her grief.
In our exploration, we went big picture; we traveled down the path of her grandmother’s story and I was privileged to hear what made this woman so remarkable to her family. When we came back around to the phrase she was struggling with, I asked her “What would your grandmother say right now to you about your own story?” And without hesitation, she stated “She’d want me to live it.”
We bring our loved ones with us; through our challenges and our triumphs, through the graduations, weddings, births of our children, laughter, tears and treasured moments. Giving ourselves permission to live our own story pays honour and respect to theirs; a lovely gift for those we have had to say goodbye to.
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Photo credit: http://Photo by Nick Karvounis on Unsplash