Taking a break from grief.
Sounds weird, right? But as weird as it may seem, sometimes it is necessary. And it is absolutely okay to do.
Give yourself permission to mentally walk away from the grief. It isn’t going anywhere. And it WILL demand to be heard and worked through. But for now, set it down, take a couple of steps away and breathe.
It has been a year and a half since losing my husband and the grief waves were sometimes enough to knock me over and keep me down for days at a time. I would walk into my therapist’s office and regularly tell her that I was over it. I just wanted to be done. I was tired of the pain, tired of the sadness. I was just plain tired.
And each and every time she would say, “You know it’s okay to take a break once in a while, right?”
Sometimes I would agree, but usually I would fight her. If I set it down, I’ll never pick it back up. That’s what I thought. She knew better. And deep down, I knew better. But setting the grief down for even a moment felt akin to abandoning my husband – the man that I committed to loving for the rest of my life.
And so I would persevere to the point of exhaustion. I would keep pushing through until I couldn’t take one more step. Life would force me to set the grief down. And oh, the sweet relief.
So I am here to tell you that it’s okay to take a break. In fact, I’d say it’s downright necessary. Give your brain a chance to feel something other than despair. Find one thing you can find a glimmer of joy in, and focus on that.
As I progressed in my healing, I noticed that I was taking more and more breaks. And with each break it seemed as though I was able to take another step forward. I am no longer overcome with pain and sadness when remembering my husband. Sure, I will still get hit with the shocking realization that he is, in fact, dead. I will still be stunned at the words “I am a widow” coming out of my mouth. But I don’t live in the dark places anymore. And some day, you won’t either.
I think the most crucial place where I have had to take a step back has been on social media. I am a member of a handful of widow groups and friends with many widowed people. Every time I would log in, I was bombarded with grief. And none of it was my own. It looked like mine and it felt like mine, but it was not mine. And I had a hard time not reaching in and picking it up anyway.
So I took a step back. I stopped commenting, I stopped posting and I stopped spending hours scrolling through my feeds.
And with that, I was able to concentrate on me again. I was able to see the light that I have been nurturing within my grief tunnel.
I took a break from grief. And in turn, I found my life.
So please, if you are starting to feel overwhelmed with your grief, take some time away from it – as best as you can. Take a step back, walk away from the family members or friends who are eating away at your emotional energy and just exist.
A little bit goes a long way. I’ve talked to many people who have taken a step back and come back refreshed and renewed.
You owe it to yourself to try.