During the days immediately following the loss of a loved one, it is easy to get swept up in the planning, decisions, and schedule of events that lead up to funeral services. But once the service is over and guests have gone home, for many this is when grief and the process of healing begins.
Losing a partner can feel like losing a piece of yourself—a piece that was with you, to share moments and move through life together. Without that person, it can feel like a blank page to fill with new routines or modified familiar ones. Once the funeral services conclude, rebuilding your life may not seem like a priority, but it is something that will happen over time.
Here are 5 steps that may be supportive to begin the rebuilding process when you’re ready:
- Grieve in your own time. There is no right or wrong way to process grief. Some may find it easier to move through the stages with help from a counselor, grief group, or with friends and family along side. Others may want to isolate for a time, moving at their own pace before reentering the routines of day-to-day life and socialization. It’s helpful to allow yourself to release the idea of where you “should” be in your process.
- Move your body. Processing emotions can be a physiological process, and there is evidence to support that moving your body can help you work through them. Movement does not have to be high-intensity or high-impact workouts; gentle yoga, walking, cycling, or anything you’re able to safely can help work through the variety of emotions that come up when grieving and rebuilding after loss.
- Balance movement with rest. As you ease yourself into this new chapter of your life, it may feel easier to jump from task to task, not slowing down. However, just as moving the body helps release emotions, resting gives your body and mind the opportunity to begin to recover.
- Celebrate their memory. The first year will be a year of firsts—holidays, birthdays, experiences—and it can feel overwhelming. If it feels right, reach out to find ways to honor your loved one’s memory in tandem with these firsts (or maybe that doesn’t happen until the second year; that’s okay, too). Finding ways to keep their memories alive as you continue to move forward can ease the grief and help you gently step into the new phase.
- Create new memories. Live. Moving forward with your life after loss may sometimes feel like a betrayal to those who are no longer here, but the best gift you can give to those who’ve passed is continuing to live and find things, people, and experiences that bring you joy. You can be joyful in their honor and live the way they would have wanted you to, or carve a whole new way of living that is just for you.
Moving on after the loss of a partner creates a new slate to rebuild your life. Take your time to create your days with intention and care, knowing that your loved ones both here and passed want you to continue living and to find peace and joy after loss.
At Ryan Funeral Homes, our job is to support you while you honor the end of a life. And it’s just as important to honor the lives of those still living, those who carry the legacy and memory of those no longer with us.