Remembering to Take the Small Steps

After a loss the memories of times shared together with individuals who are no longer with us in person may weigh heavy on us and seem to make it harder to get through the day. For some, the memories are sad and life seems empty.

Grief bursts or waves of grief may creep in, but the choice to stay in the grasp of sadness and more is your decision. However difficult it is to move away from grief, remember many people have done just that, over time. For several it starts with small steps. What does a small step look like to you?

Small steps mean different things to different people, but may be as simple as smiling at the bird sitting outside your window, letting the sun shine on your face or being in the moment of contentment feeling the soft fur of a pet.

In my grief counselling practice many people see getting out of bed, having a shower or opening the drapes to let the sun shine in a room as small steps with immense meaning. Often these are the beginning steps to a new and different life.

Small steps may become bigger steps or more small steps put together. Count the steps, how many have you done in one day? Can you do that many and more in the next few days?

Accepting an invite to be with others and not staying home alone all of the time is a step forward. A friend once told me, “It is only a first time once”. I cannot count the number of times I have said that to myself in the past ten years and shared it with others as I share with you now.

Exercise and eat properly; for that matter have something to eat. Get a good night’s rest or do the best you can. These three basics are very important for your body to function and when you function better it is easier to get better; however that is defined by you.

What else can you do? I strongly recommend NOT comparing yourself or your grief to someone else, make a difference to someone somehow, invite others over to your home, volunteer to help others who cannot help themselves and most important of all, be you!

Start a new ritual of remembering those who are not with you or your family. Light a candle, share stories and smile with warmth in your heart. You are the one who takes the small steps that inspire yourself and others.

Barbara J Saunders is a grief counsellor/Thanatologist.

Next week’s article is about “Loss Connected to Illness”