Living with Grief: What Does It Mean to Move On?
Updated: Apr 11, 2022
If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, your life may feel like it has turned completely upside down. Many days, you find it hard to believe that they are actually not here anymore. How did this happen? You wish you could reverse the events of their death and bring them back. You feel so alone. Nothing seems like it will be the same, or even good again. You are looking for this idea that people often talk about - “moving on.” What does that even mean and how can you know that you are moving on with life when you are grieving a loss?
To begin, it can be helpful to identify some myths associated with the idea of moving on from grief.
Myth #1 Once I move through all the stages of grief, I can move on.
While it’s true that grief does often share common elements among many people, the stages of grief are not sequential and not all of them even occur for each individual. The stages of grief can help normalize some of the intense and seemingly out-of-nowhere feelings that arise with grief, but are not a prescription for how grief should or will look for you. Neither do the stages determine distinctly when you are “moving on.”
Myth #2 If I move on, I’m disrespecting the memory of my loved one.
It’s possible to reach a place where you are living your life in a way that starts to feel more normal. You even have some times of joy and happiness and still carry awareness of, memories of, and care for the person you lost. Losing the elements of constant sadness does not diminish a loved one’s memory. Laughter is not disrespectful to their memories.
Myth #3 If I’m still thinking a lot about the person I lost, I haven’t moved on.
In somewhat of a contrast to the last myth, you may be experiencing long lasting sadness, loneliness, and emptiness living life without the significant relationship that you had with someone you were incredibly close to. Though the intensity of these feelings can lessen with time, they can stay around for a long time for many people. Moving on doesn’t have to mean you stop feeling the pain of the loss completely.
Finding out what it means to you
Those are just a few examples of the ways that you may struggle with the idea of moving on. One important thing to note is that you are the only one who can define what it means to move on in your own life. As you gain understanding of the ways in which it’s impacting you, you can start to define what it might mean to move on. It is your process.
Moving on often ends up encompassing the ways that grief is impacting your life, as opposed to reaching the end of grief and loss, and feeling like you used to feel. It’s a hard concept for many people to embrace - that you will feel many of these feelings for years to come. Yet within your acceptance of the grief, moving on is happening.
Moving on can look like trying something new for the first time. It can come with sharing your experiences with people. You can say you're moving on when you tell stories about the person you lost. You move on when the loneliness inspires you to reach out to people in ways you haven’t before. The sadness is there; the emptiness is there and you are living. Moving on isn’t the removal of the grief, moreso, it’s navigating the rough waters of grief, even when they overtake you and slam you into the rocks.
You might not want to navigate those rough waters alone. Many of us don’t. That’s where a compassionate counselor or a support group of people who really understand those waters comes into play. Together we can help you find your way to moving on.
How We Can Help
Our Grief Support Group helps support you through your grief together with others who have experienced the loss of a love.
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If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:
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Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life
Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:
Grief and loss therapy is important for learning to live again after your loss. But, we know that is not all you might need. So, we want to meet all of your counseling needs in the Denver area. Our supportive therapists provide depression counseling, therapy for caregiver stress, anxiety treatment, stress management counseling and more. We also have specialists in trauma and PTSD, women's issues, pregnancy and postpartum depression or anxiety, pregnancy loss and miscarriage, and birth trauma. For therapists, we can also provide clinical supervision! We look forward to connecting with you to help support your journey today.
Alicia Kwande is a psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, and blogger. Alicia helps adults (especially mothers and caregivers) who give all they have to others, leaving themselves with next to nothing. Alicia assists adults in managing their anxiety, depression, work-life balance, and grief and loss. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.