Time enough

Tragedies happen. It is sad and often painful. Eventually though, we heal from that event and get on with our lives.

The phases of grief have already been covered, describing the common processes that people go through towards adjusting to the changes that have happened in the world with the changes that must occur within. At the end of grief is a time of remembering that the world is different and a time of moving on. This length of time varies from person to person.

For some it can be fairly quick, not because they don’t care, but because they have simply adjusted quickly to change. Perhaps they have more practice, perhaps they are more resilient, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. Some take a long time to heal, measuring months, years or decades. Usually if months or more is where you find yourself, looking for some professional help is advisable.

At some point we are going to find ourselves experiencing the emotion known as “fun” and “joy”. We may reflect on this and feel guilt because we can’t believe that we are enjoying ourselves when we consider the tragedy we have experienced. We may berate ourselves for allowing ourselves to have fun as if this disrespects the memory of those we have lost. There is a danger here, if we continually associate fun with tragedy we lead ourselves to a path of potential clinical depression.

It is okay to laugh, okay to smile, okay to enjoy ourselves. This is not disrespecting those who have gone, it is acknowledging that we have healed. We don’t owe a fixed time of mourning, nor do we prove ourselves the more deeply affected because we mourn for longer or deny ourselves enjoyment.

Sometimes we are still grieving while those around us are done. We can look at them and feel anger that they didn’t mourn for long enough, as if they didn’t truly care. We can mistake their resilience as a sign of hollow grief, or their coping mechanisms as disrespect. While it is normal to feel this, it is mistaken.

Each of our grieving is its own path. We must accept that others follow a different path and that at some point it is okay for us to begin enjoying life again. We must trust ourselves as much as we trust others to be true to themselves without reading disrespect and disregarding into their actions.