On Moving On
After we experience the death of a loved one, a bad break up, job loss or any other life changing event, there comes a time when people assume that you should just move on.
So lately, I have been thinking more about what it means to move on. Does it mean finding another partner? Does it mean moving to another town or burning a bunch of sentimental letters? Does it mean not talking about the experience anymore? What exactly is this move on mantra about?
I started reflecting on my own experience and found myself meandering towards a specific dilemma that I’ve encountered recently: What does moving on look like for a family that’s grieving? How do we move on when everyone has their own grieving pace?
This is one of the greatest challenges and most important lessons we can learn from grief, or from pain in general. We begin to understand how sensitive and vulnerable every human is and just how differently we all process the craziness of life. Living in that tension and accepting it can either divide us or bring us closer together.
Often we feel that the pain we are experiencing is unlike the pain of another. We say to ourselves, "No-one can understand how I am feeling." And yes, while no one can understand how we are feeling, no one can understand how our brothers and our sisters are feeling either. We are all alone but at the same time also together. So how do we balance needing our own space and time with giving the ones we love the space and time that they deserve? How do we fight the desire to isolate with the craving to come together?
At this point, the only answer that I have is: moving slowly. When things go fast, when change is a constant and stress is our normal, it is hard to see and listen and be with others. By creating a space of stillness, we open ourselves up to feeling and connecting and being with others.
And so I think that one of the biggest signs of moving on is when you move out of your own isolated experience of grief and into the communal struggle of grief. It’s when your vision changes from tunnel to wide lens - when your relationship with grief is one that lends itself to patience and empathy rather than anger and resistance ... And it is in that space of expansion where I think we have the most potential to heal ourselves and one another.