The New Normal
When I first experienced losses, I overheard my husband, Louis, say to people, “We’re just going to have to get used to our new normal.” It was then that I began to use that as my go-to response when people asked me how I was doing. I knew they didn’t want to hear about my real feelings, how I felt like I was dying inside. And I didn’t really want to share either so that actually worked out for everyone involved.
Now, let’s think about what this actually means. What exactly is a “new normal”? Well, it’s your new way of life after experiencing a traumatic event. Unfortunately, you will probably not be the same person you were before this loss, and your life will never be the same either. Don’t get me wrong; you can get close to who you were and how you lived, but it will never feel the same.
This new normal is about learning to live your life without your loved one. It is in finding a way to move through what used to be your old routine without breaking down and losing yourself to the pain. Of course, you’re going to feel the pain, and that’s going to feel awful, but as grievers, we do not get a free pass to stop living only because we have lost someone or something.
Picking up the pieces takes a lot of hard work and tremendous willpower. You have to fight every day to gather the strength you need to get through the hours of the day. Sometimes, the hours can be too long, and you may feel you need to drag yourself by the minute. For a while, you will also hardly recognize yourself and feel shocked that it’s possible to feel as you do.
Eventually, there will come a time when you’re ready to move past the pain and start feeling alive again; the time frame for this is different for everyone. You will start venturing out and enjoying the company of others. You will laugh a little brighter and truly feel joy again. Grief is definitely a journey, a slow and painful one, but it’s not an ending … It’s a transformation. Although you will be forever changed, you will start living your new normal.