23 Apr Staying Motivated After the Loss of a Loved One
“He’s gone. Grandpa died tonight, honey,” my mom told me. Even though it was the 3rd time that decade that he was close to death, I was not prepared for it. I got sick. I cried. I got sick again. For months. I did not feel alive. I was 22 so I drank a lot. That helped. I thought it helped. All it really did was make me numb for a few hours. Then I missed him again. Then I drank some more. Then I missed him again. I even went to church a few times to talk to him. I still missed him.
If anyone you have ever loved has died, you probably have to. What will you do without them? How will you carry on? Why did they leave? How can we grieve the loss of a loved one, while maintaining a level of motivation and purpose in our lives? Here are the best answers I have come up for a universally difficult topic.
1. Remember that this pain you are feeling is a result of the same amount of joy you at one time felt.
Imagine this as a seesaw – the side that’s all the way up in the air right now is your pain and your loss. But at some point that was reversed. It was the joy, the life, the abundance. The depth of the sorrow is only as strong as the light you once shared. You’re only in this moment of grief because you shared so many moments of joy. Let those moments keep you motivated and on purpose.
2. Think about one thing that this person loved about you.
Maybe they said you are a hard worker, a good son, a funny and light-hearted friend. If you can amplify that one thing, and make it part of your identity, you can connect with your lost loved one. As you that thing, you can tell them, “I know you loved this about me, and I’m going to do this today in your honor.”
3. Find a way to stay connected to them.
In those days when you just need to talk or connect with your loved one, it’s important to have something you can turn to. This might be a prayer, their favorite quote, or one of their possessions passed down to you. I have a prayer card that belonged to my grandpa. It is the Irish Blessing. He loved being Irish. He loved his faith. This is how I connect.
4. Stay open to what happens next.
Just because this person has left the physical world, that does not mean that you are going to stop communicating, or stop getting signs and miracles. This was a big shift for me. Even though my grandfather is no longer on earth, I can tell you so many stories that give me goosebumps about things he said or showed me from the after-life. Your loved one is going to be gracing you with their presence in the days, weeks, months and decades to come, but you have to be open to that. You have to know that energy you’re feeling is not a coincidence, but is actually happening. They hope you are paying attention.
5. Think about the one thing that you loved the most about them.
What did you love about that person? My grandfather was mischievous. He always told us to “not get wet in the pool, and make sure not to eat the hole in the doughnut.” I try to work a bit of mischief into my daily life and relationships. Whenever I do that, it helps me feel connected to him, and it helps me realize that he still lives on.
We only have so much time left on this earth, how are we going to use it? Let’s make all those that are here and all those that have left, proud of our answer to that question. It’s Your Hour.