Updated: Jan 9, 2021
If you are very recently bereaved, now is a time to grieve, to mourn, to feel all the emotions you need to feel. This post may not be relevant to you right now, but may be useful in the future. You will know when the time is right for you.
Silver Linings I think there are very few people who left 2020 with a good feeling. Many of us suffered great loss and upheaval. Yet, there were one or two good things that happened. We learned of goodness, kindness, and the good sense of most people, and we found ways to occupy our time. On a personal level, I watched a lot of movies, some of which held very interesting ideas. There were three ideas in particular that helped me in my grieving process and which I want to share with you in the hope that you might benefit as well.
First, though, here’s a little backstory. I lost my 15-year-old Granddaughter July 18, 2017 in an automobile accident. I think of her constantly. Different emotions accompany those thoughts. The most frequent feeling is loss. I miss her terribly. I think of her constantly. I still cry a lot. The second is guilt. I feel as though I could have been a better grandmother. I keep playing over and over in my mind what I should have done differently to let her know how much I loved her. I know she loved me very much. And I know that she knew I loved her very much, but I keep thinking of all the things I could have done better. These feelings have not abated, even though it’s been over 3 years and 5 ½ months since she died.
The concepts from three movies I watched simply would not leave my mind, even though I have trouble wrapping my head around one of them. They didn’t have an immediate effect, but they won’t go away, and little by little they seem to be helping through the grieving process, helping me to see life a little differently.
The first movie I saw was one where a couple lost their teenage son in a motorcycle accident. Both were devastated, but the husband seemed better able to cope and to start trying to live his life. The wife, however, could not. She isolated herself, wouldn’t talk to anyone, and remained in her state of grief and mourning. She even left her husband and swapped houses with someone in a different country. There was a gardener who came with the house to which she moved and they had some little interaction, becoming friends as much as she could, which was slight. He realized how much she was grieving for her son and in a discussion of letting go of someone who died he said to her that sometimes the dead have to let go of us. That was a very new concept to me, a foreign one I had never thought of before. It hit me hard, because I realized that I do not want to let go of my Granddaughter and I certainly don’t want her to let go of me.
The second movie was about a man who had lost his wife two years before. He wanted to make a good home for his 7-year-old daughter, but kept finding all kinds of excuses not to go out with women. After a prolonged interaction with a friend with whom he discussed his feelings, he realized he was afraid to move on, afraid he would get hurt by again losing someone he loved dearly. He was being held back by fear of another loss. Ultimately, he did overcome his fear and found love and happiness for himself and his daughter.
The third movie dealt with a man and his teenage son who had lost their wife/mother a year before. The father could not stay in the house because it held too many memories, and so they moved. The son began establishing relationships in his new school and, although he missed his mother terribly, he was starting to move on. The father got a job teaching and was going through the motions of living his life, but his heart wasn’t in it. He started seeing a therapist who gave him antidepressant meds and a lot of therapy. He met a lovely teacher who clearly liked him and wanted to go out with him. He liked her a lot and they enjoyed being together. She wanted a closer relationship, however, and seduced him once, which was a positive and enjoyable experience for him, but afterward he became even more depressed, to the point of needing ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). It didn’t help. Nothing really helped. He broke off his relationship with the woman and simply went through the very minimal motions of living. His son finally got very angry with him and told him that he might as well get on with what he was doing to himself, which was basically dying. His therapist told him that to be happy, you have to want to be happy.
I mention these concepts because they speak to me. They make sense to me, especially concepts #2 and #3, and I think they may help others through the grieving process. My husband, who watched these movies with me, said some people don’t ever want to be happy. I realized that I was one of those. I don’t think I ever wanted to be really happy. Concept #2 applies to me in that I tend to self-isolate. But here’s the key: they are choices! We can start to be braver if we are afraid. We can start to do things that make us happier, even on a small scale. Take baby steps, if necessary, to start moving ahead.
I really don’t understand Concept #1, but I mention it because it won’t leave me. I’m not even sure I believe in an afterlife (I’ve never had a sign), but I really hope there is one, and even if there is, would it make any sense for the dead to hold on to us? If anyone reading this has any idea what this might mean, please reply to this post and let me know what you think. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this or really anything else regarding this post or the grieving/healing process in general. I believe that these concepts can work even if you don’t accept them immediately. I think they can work subconsciously. I started feeling better after hearing them and the beneficial effect seems to be .continuing. I hope you find them helpful.