What comes to mind when you think of summertime? Picnics, road trips, family reunions, a trip to the ocean or lake…or simply a break from normal routines. But for those grieving the loss of a loved one it can feel like the absence of their special person is magnified. Many summertime activities focus on being with family and friends and building memories. Of course everyday life is hard enough when you’re missing someone but something doesn’t feel quite right when the focus is on togetherness and fun. It’s blatantly obvious that someone is missing and that life will never be the same.
So what do you do about it? Do you cancel all future summer plans? Do you never again rent the same beach house that your family has enjoyed for the past 10 years? Do you stop attending every gathering, pool party or picnic? Well, if that’s what you need to do, do it. If you need to change things up or take a break this summer (or the next or the next…) or start new traditions at some point, do it. I am a firm believer in nurturing yourself and validating your grief. Making space for your grief is essential to your healing. It can be so tempting to isolate and avoid anything that makes us feel too sad-while there is validity in doing so sometimes, it’s also important to balance these feelings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, I like to think of it as “making adjustments.” You’re adjusting to life without a loved one and it’s unbearable at times. Even if you’ve experienced the loss of loved ones before, each relationship was unique therefore each grief experience is unique.
Summertime may look and feel completely different for you now. Be gentle and kind with yourself, make those adjustments as you navigate unchartered territory.