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I was on the outside of a conversation today in which someone, meaning well, implied that a widower was doing a fine job of “moving on”. Something about it struck me as off. Is this man really moving on, or is he just continuing on?
Something about “moving on” screams break-up to me. The end of a relationship, where two people go different ways. They are moving on with their lives away from the time they were together. Maybe they are even “getting over” the other person, to then move on with their life alone.
When it comes to the loss of a significant other to death, are we really moving on?
We sure don’t try to get over it, or them, as much as we try to come to terms with and live with what’s happened. Getting used to life without that person may be similar to a breakup in that they are no longer there, but the process and feelings around it are completely different. There is no loss of love just because of death. Death doesn’t mean it was the end of your relationship. Except that now it is.
I say all this relating to the widower in this conversation, but it also can apply to everyone who loses a loved one. If you’ve lost say, your mother or grandmother, you really aren’t moving on when you keep going. You are coming to terms with, and accepting. Then you (hopefully) continue forward in life, because you realize, consciously or subconsciously, that is the only way for you to go.
So, do we “move on” when someone dies? Or are we really “continuing on”?
Continuing on, continuing forward. In the case of this particular man, finding new things to go forward with. Rediscovering things that he had an interest in, but at some point in life put on the back burner. All the while carrying his love with him. If I had to guess, he still checks in with his wife, he can probably hear her opinions on the matter. After 30 years of marriage, I would say he knows that she is supporting him, and cheering for him. All the while, I would not say moving on.
With her in his heart, not left at the grave.
So, who has an easier time grieving and getting back to going forward in their life? The person who seeks to get over and move on, or the person who is actively continuing on?
Feel free to share your stories of loss, grief and how you were able to continue on in the comments. Or, support and encourage others who have commented.