by Greg Lincoln
Visiting the places where a loved one had once been can be difficult for those who are grieving from losing someone they love. The feelings that you may experience can range on a wide spectrum of sadness. The reminders and the thoughts that they were once here before at a significant place are almost too hard to bear.
Avoidance behaviors are commonly associated with anxiety or fear and is a known adaptive response to loss. It is natural to feel this way especially during the period of acute grieving. Acute grief takes place during the early days immediately following a loss.
When our grief is recent and we avoid places or people linked in significant ways to our deceased loved ones it gives us some respite from the intense and deeply sad pain and gives some time to process the reality of losing someone you love.
However, if avoidance is ongoing and persists and the bereaved relies on avoiding reminders and places of their loved ones, that may extend the acute grieving period and contribute to the development of Complicated Grief.
There are three things those that are bereaved and grieving may avoid in order to not subject themselves to more pain of losing their beloved until they are ready. There is avoiding places and things that remind them of the deceased, avoiding activities that also brings reminders, and avoiding situations of illness and death that typically evoke sympathy.
What about you? We hope that you are doing okay. For us, we have chosen to and decided to visit the places our daughter loved and it has been a struggle, especially at night when it gets dark. The feelings of sad nostalgia, yearning, homesickness, and memories flood our thoughts. Each location has its special meanings and memories. We needed each other to do this, it would not have worked if we were alone. Why do we do it? It all goes back to fulfilling the goals that our daughter would have liked us to achieve. We can say we did it for her.
You will know when you are ready to do this.
Complete strangers that we have met at these certain special significant places that we have met and chatted with have been so kind. They said that they will pray for us, how do they know? Maybe they are angels.
Sometimes we will see a person who looks like her, or reminds us of her and we stop and just seem to pretend in that moment that it is her and that everything is still okay, and then that moment passes and we go back to this reality. Does that ever happen to you?
This feeling of wanting to avoid places and people, events, and things is deeply embedded into our minds, like an unspoken hidden underlying current. It is like we are trying to fight against it and we are, like the salmon that swim up a raging river. It would be so much easier just to go with the flow, but maybe that will come in time.
The price we pay for love is grief.
So friends, as we journey on this path in this vast realm of grief some of it may be confusing, sometimes we don’t understand why. Please think of, support, and care for those who are suffering from grief. Thank you for your uplifting prayers and thoughts.