- A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength; “signs of recovery in the grief discovery process”
- The action or process of regaining control of something broken
What Does Recovery Feel Like?
The truth is, I don’t know what your recovery will feel like. But for today’s blog, I am going to share with you my version of what I think recovery feels like. I want to start by confessing that I did not even believe recovery from grief was possible.
When Austin died, I was given a “Grief Recovery” book, and the first thought that went through my head was, “I will never get over Austin’s death. What if I let go of the pain that I feel so clearly in my heart? He will be gone, and I will not be able to sense him any longer.” However, I could not possibly be further from the truth.
In simple terms, recovery means to feel better. It means the removal of the knife that stabbed my heart when my loss occurred. Let’s face it—my life will never be the same again. My life was changed forever the day Austin left me. I can never go back to my life with Austin in it. But going through an action program for this loss has helped me retain all my fond memories with Austin.
Even in my recovered life, I still miss Austin, and I will continue to miss him for the rest of my life. Some days I feel sad that he is gone. I would love to see 22-year-old Austin again. I never wanted to forget Austin, but I knew that I had to deal with all of the bad memories in my heart.
I dislike it when people told me, “This is your ‘new normal.’” What does that even mean? It’s as though they were saying that the next part of my life was going to be hard and so sad that I would never feel joy again. That is a lie believed in many societies. But the truth is that I have worked hard on the pain in my heart. It was not easy, but even now I continue to work on my heart.
Here is a final thought I want to leave you with—recovering from a broken heart will never be easy. But I can assure you that it will be worth the pain. We must live again. It is hard for me to say this because I believed it was unthinkable, because Austin was an important part of my life, and his passing away changed my life forever. But I have never forgotten him, and my feelings for him have never faded away.
I know that many of you reading this may have just experienced loss. I am speaking to you right now. I feel you. I have no idea what you are feeling right now, but I do know what a broken heart feels like. It sucks!
Erica and I have dedicated our lives to you. Know that we are here for you. I know that the hardest part of recovery is the first step, but know that you do not have to live a life in pain and lack.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
Recovery from grief looks different to different people. For some, recovery means not crying every day or not having to take medication to get through the day. For me, recovery means truly enjoying my life with the people I spend my time with on a daily basis. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen unless you invest time and energy into working through the devastating pain that comes with grief.
When Austin died, I was convinced nothing was going to make me feel better. My son had died, and I was just going to have to live with the pain for the rest of my life. However, that was not to be, because I found an educational program that taught me about grief and what it truly means to be a griever. This program taught me that with very specific steps, I could let go of the negativity and guilt I was feeling. This experience moved me beyond words and inspired me to want to help others who were broken-hearted and grieving too.
When Donovan died, I resisted the steps that I knew would help me, because I was angry—angry at the circumstances that caused him to die and angry that I had yet again been dealt a crappy hand in life. How was I going to live without another child? It took me nearly an entire year to start picking up the pieces, but once I did, everything started to fall into place, and I started to feel joy again.
Even both my own experiences were so vastly different. Now that I am what I consider “recovered,” I love talking about my boys. I could share stories about them for hours because they were both amazing individuals. I typically do not cry, because these memories do not cause me pain. They make me smile and feel love—the love I felt when they were alive. That is what recovery looks like to me.