15 Jul Healing Does Not Mean Forgetting

Grief Can Make Us Think Crazy Things

One common and normal gut-wrenching thought that can stop us in our tracks is the notion that if we move forward in our personal healing, we will forget our loved one.  Fear of forgetting takes over.  Guilt related to the idea of forgetting rides shotgun.  What you need to know is that this is one of many points along the grieving and healing journey where it’s possible to fall off of the path of healing.   And land in a pothole.  And get stuck.  Learning that forgetting is not possible allows us to climb out of the pothole and get ourselves (and sometimes a family member or friend) back on the path of healing.

There Is No Way To Forget Someone That We Love

Memories of our loved one are permanently wired in and locked in our heart. Forever.  We can retrieve these memories anytime we want to.  Additionally, sharing good memories also helps with the healing process of rewiring to a new environment which no longer includes our loved one.  This moving from a physical relationship to one of memory is part of the ongoing work of grieving and healing.  Healing does not mean forgetting.

No Good Memories?

Perhaps you do not have good memories. This is more common than you think.  Relief is a common reaction.  It’s okay to embrace relief and to share your feelings of relief—and any bad memories that you feel like sharing.  Because relief is a normal and common experience if your loved one had issues with drugs, alcohol or physical or emotional challenges.  Another example of the relief response is a loved one who is now free from the horrible pain caused by cancer or some other illness.  Other times the relief response is intertwined with all the other normal grief responses that we experience.

Avoid Self Condemnation

There is no reason for you to feel bad about yourself.  Or to engage in negative self-talk because you are feeling relieved.  Again, because this too is normal.  As a side note, keep in mind that feeling relief does not necessarily mean that you will not have to feel and work though other grief emotions.  This is another reason why it’s a good and healing idea to hang out with friends and family members who allow you to grieve.  Who allow you to share memories.  And who allow you to share relief.  With no judgement.

Family Members Remembering Differently

What else is normal for grief?  Something that does happen occasionally when family members get together and share memories is that one or more people remember things differently.  There is no need for alarm.  And no need to right fight.  Everyone is entitled to his or her own memories.  It’s more productive to focus on healing.   And remember that this is just one more reason why grieving family member’s drive each other nuts.  Find your sense of humor again if you need to.  Humor is healing too.

We never forget our loved one.  We rewire.

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