Loss, Grieving and Letting Go by Dawn Holland

My last Focusing Inward writing was about starting over in my new life. The purpose of that writing was to share my experience of moving forward using the skills and techniques I have developed and acquired over the years. These vital skills support my transition from where I was before my transition, into a new way of living. This lifestyle is so very different and a major life adjustment. I am ready to share another important aspect of moving forward. There is a deep experience of loss and grief as I let go of the past, embrace the present and plan for the future.

Many people think of grieving as something that is done when there is a death of an individual, especially someone who matters in our lives. That certainly is one of the times we grieve. But the aching feeling of loss that I am now experiencing has to do with a different kind of death or loss.

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For almost 20 years I had a dream, a belief of what my life was and would be. It was something that seemed (at the time) unshakeable. My husband was my best friend, my mentor and the love of my life. Whenever I imagined how my life would move forward, the one constant was that we would be together, that we would solve every problem and grow our lives as a couple. Now that dream, that belief, is shattered and I am experiencing a deep and profound sense of grief. There are so many aspects to this feeling of loss that I can’t even fully understand it. There is the realization that he will no longer be by my side or a part of my future. There is the loss of a business we shared and loved. There was the sacrifice, on my part, of a home and friends I adored, in a place that soothed my soul. My reality was built around the life I used to live and the person I shared my life with.

Now all of that is over.

Now I am in a whole new world with new people. No matter how loving and supportive they are, and believe me they are wonderful, they cannot erase the loss I am going through, they cannot take away my pain; they cannot heal me overnight as I wish they could. This is a process that must unfold, as it will.

Yes, I am using all my self-soothing and self-care practices which do help. And at the same time it is only with the passage of the hours of the day and the days of the weeks and months to come that I can fully engage in this new life, while kindly, gently let go of my old life. Frequently the patterns of response I have to my new life situations are what I used for the way I once lived my life. They don’t always work now! That leaves me feeling lost and confused at times. It is a very emotional period in my life and I must respect myself as a multitude of feelings and emotions rise up inside me.

I am blessed to be in situations, most of the time, where I can allow the tears and sadness to be released freely. There are also times when I want to shut down because I simply don’t want to feel, at all. I need a break. And thankfully there are times when I feel fine and can move through the hours with a light heart. It is a roller coaster that I cannot predict. When will I rise up with joy and excitement? When will I dip with sadness and pain? Treating myself with patience, kindness and love are the best remedy. Sometimes it is hard to remember to do that because I am used to being there for others, not being there for me!

It is time to change. I must change my old patterns if I want to move on in a happy and healthy way.

I wish I knew how long this grieving will take. I wish I could clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t and I can’t. But what I do have is self faith that at some point in any moment I will find myself at peace and know that I am reaching my new normal, that new balance that is already out there waiting for me.