Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Getting Back in the Saddle - Part 2

A couple of weeks ago we discussed “getting back in the saddle again.”  This week, I would like to explore that a little more.  Clinically, the term for “getting back in the saddle” is “reinvestment.”  Many people are familiar with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ Stages of Grief, but a similar concept is Therese Rando’s Tasks of Mourning.  The final task is “reinvestment.” 


Therese Rando proposes that a person who has experienced a loss will have to work through these tasks.  These tasks are similar to the stages of grief, in that there is no set way a person goes through these tasks.  It is highly individual and a person can go through them in a step by step fashion, they can bounce back and forth between the tasks or they can even become stuck at a particular task for a very long time.  We typically use these tasks to help an individual in grief recognize where they are in their grief process. 


Tasks of Mourning


1.         Recognize the Loss:  An individual needs to acknowledge and understand the    



2.         React to the Separation:  Experience the pain of grief and offer it a release.   

            Learning to accommodate the loss of the person into their lives.  This period can

            be an emotional roller coaster.


3.         Recollect and Re-experience:  Share stories and relive memories of the

            relationship that was lost. 


4.         Relinquish Old Attachments:  Release the hold on the loved one that has

            passed. It is difficult to hold on and move on at the same time. 


5.         Readjust:  To adapt to a new world without the lost loved one, but not

            forgetting the loved one. 


6.         Reinvest:  To have a renewed energy and interest in life. 


This last stage represents more than just showing a renewed energy and interest in life.  It also represents the ability of the griever to put their heart and emotions into another relationship knowing that there is a possibility of feeling this intense pain again.  If you are a gambler by nature, you might feel more comfortable taking this chance.  For some people, this is a HUGE risk.  But unless you want to face a life of loneliness and without companionship or friendship, this is your only choice.  


When you are faced with making this choice, you find yourself weighing the options of putting your heart out there once again.  If you take the leap, how many years will you get with this relationship?  Chances are you may have many wonderful years with this relationship and have many gifts of happiness along the way.  Surely that is worth taking the risk, because if you do happen to lose this relationship again, the happy memories can outweigh the pain of the ending, right?  It sounds logical at the time, but anyone who has experienced a significant loss knows that is not true.  In time perhaps one can remember the happy memories with less pain, but at the moment of loss, the pain obliterates all and the pain is all there is. 


So let’s not get emotionally involved in any more relationships.  It’s much safer that way, right?  It’s also boring, lonely, miserable, unhappy and most importantly, not a very honoring way to live your life without your loved one.  I don’t know one person that I have loved and has left me, that has wanted me to remain miserable and lonely.  We all know that our loved ones want us to go on living the best life that we can and to continue to offer our gifts to others along our life’s journey.  The experiences we gained from knowing our loved ones are experiences we can give to others as well. 


To me, the most honoring thing I can do for my lost loved ones is to take the lessons they offered me from their life experiences and use them to make future relationships I may be lucky enough to have feel vibrant and fulfilled.  Most lessons people take away are not to take loved ones for granted, to appreciate every single moment we have with them because we never know when it will be our last.  Then when we take the leap again, and if, God forbid, they leave us – we will know in our hearts that we gave them everything we had to give, and with time, when the pain has diminished and we are able to focus on the happy memories again, they will be abundant.


Until next week, please be gentle with yourself.


Happy Thanksgiving!




P.S.  If you have found this posting or previous postings helpful, please consider making a donation to The Bereavement Center.  We are a non-profit organization that serves the community, and we operate solely on donations from families, clients and the community.  As always, your donation will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.


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