Have you ever felt stuck? Sometimes we get stuck and don’t even realize it.
A couple of weeks ago I realized I was feeling stuck and decided to sign up for a GriefShare group. My husband has been gone for 2 years and I was feeling like I was still stuck.
Two years later I am not as quick to break down in front of people, but I do still find myself occasionally wondering if I will ever feel like I’m getting on with life. (To those of you who know all the things I have done in the last 2 years that may sound strange because I don’t sit and wait for things to happen, but there are times when I feel like I do things because they are expected, or because I don’t want others to worry about me).
Last night I was watching the video at GriefShare and one comment resonated with me. I thought about it the rest of the evening and was still thinking about it this morning. Honestly, I can’t even tell you what the rest of the comments were, but what struck me was a comment about the difference between “moving on” vs “moving forward.”
The commentator talked about how “moving on” felt like you were leaving your loved one in the past. “Moving forward”, however, was not forgetting your loved one, but experiencing a new you. It is amazing how changing one word can give you a different perspective. If you have never been through grief, changing that one word may not sound like a big difference, but if you have experienced the loss of a loved one, you get it.
I was raised in the military. My dad was in the Army. Each month there would hold a “Hail and Farewell” at the officer’s club. In the military, people came and went all of the time. This gave everyone the chance to say hello to the newcomers and to say goodbye to those moving to their new post. As a child watching this and making the moves to new places, I realize that we “moved on”. I did not stay in contact with friends from elementary and/or middle school. Sure I tried with a couple of friends to stay in touch, but those did not last long. I did not form long-lasting attachments to friends because I never knew when the next “Hail and Farewell” would be and which one of us would be ‘moving on.’
I realized last night that I was afraid to ‘move on’ because I didn’t want my husband to be forgotten like the friends in my past. But as I listened to him describe ‘moving forward’ I knew I needed to change the vocabulary I was using. Moving forward does not mean forgetting the life we had. Instead, Moving Forward empowers me to allow myself to find joy and experience what life has to offer. He told me in his last letter to find a reason to smile every day- I think this was his way of telling me to move forward.
I am a different person because I had him in my life. I will forever be shaped by that love. And as I move forward, I can’t help but carry him with me because of the love we shared. I feel like I have just been shown how to move the gear shift from Neutral to Drive.
It will feel strange to shift into Drive, and there will be times that it may slip back into neutral, but knowing I can move forward will make it easier the next time to shift it back into Drive.