Coping with the loss of someone close may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face. Everyone reacts differently to their loss with a myriad of mixed emotions bubbling to the surface. Emotional clutter can also be kept as we try to navigate through these feelings.
We all process death differently and it’s important to know that there is no right or wrong way, no time limits to deal with healing ourselves.
Finding the courage to reach out and talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, family or professional can be hard but worth it.
Last week was the 25 year anniversary of my dad’s death and a time for reflection.
For many years I closed myself off and chose to push down my emotions. After he died I felt a need to keep hold of anything I could find that represented him to me, scared that I would somehow forget him.
For a long time I felt suspended in the memories of him being unwell, unable to remember a time when he wasn’t. As I look back from a place of clarity, it makes sense as I kept hold of emotional clutter from when he was sick.
I’m sharing this because keeping hold of this stuff was an unhealthy way to suspend my feelings. It didn’t help me and I want to reach out to anyone who has chosen the same path.
The best thing I ever did was go and talk with a counsellor. After working through my emotions and coming to terms with the loss, I was able to move on. I decluttered, removing the emotional clutter that didn’t really serve me or his memory.
Today I have a lot less and have no fear that I will somehow forget him. He is lodged firmly in my heart, he always was.
I didn’t get rid of everything; I kept a few key items, these are all things that bring me joy and happy memories. Gone are the items that were fuelling unhealthy thoughts of everything I SHOULD have done while he was alive.
The lesson I learnt was to not use physical items to try and keep a shield against reality. It doesn’t serve any of us.
If you can relate to my situation, it can be scary to think about taking action. Just take it one step at a time. If you don’t know who to talk to, contact your doctor for local recommendations. The important thing is to take that first step of making the appointment. After that the next step will present itself.
Don’t delay, start today