Picture this: It’s your life before loss. Your one goal for the day is to get groceries at the grocery store. What does that look like? If you’re like most people, probably something like this:
- make a list
- put shoes on
- drive to the grocery store
- shop for groceries
- check out
- load the car
- drive home
- unload the car
In just nine steps, the task is complete. Aside from unexpected roadblocks like freeway construction or a spill in aisle 12, it’s a relatively easy goal to accomplish and—in your life before loss—likely not one you put a lot of thought into. Because you didn’t need to.
Fast forward to your life now that grief is a part of your day-to-day. Your one goal is to get groceries at the grocery store. What does that look like? If you’re like me and many of the grieving people I work with, probably something like this:
- Make a list. Grief brain gets in the way, so I have to double or even triple-check the fridge and the pantry. Every now and then I remember an item I used to buy that I don’t need to anymore because my mom is dead. What am I out of? What am I craving? Nothing tastes good anymore, so what’s the point of grocery shopping anyway? Focus. Eggs. Oatmeal. Green tea—nope, scratch that. Mom liked green tea and she’s not alive anymore to drink it.
- Put shoes on. Getting dressed is exhausting and I wonder how others will judge me based on what I wear. Slip-ons are the most comfortable, but will they make people think I’m not taking care of myself? Come to think of it, what about my hair? I want to look like I’m okay so people don’t ask invasive questions. But I can’t look too okay… otherwise they’ll think I’m over it. Jeez, there’s no winning here.
- Drive to the grocery store. There’s something surreal about doing something I used to do before loss after loss. It’s a painful reminder that the world keeps going. I pass people and milestones I’ve passed a hundred times before, and yet…