Meeting the Challenges of the Second Year of Grief

A couple of weeks ago I talked about The Five Major Challenges We Face During the Second Year of Grief:

1. Trying to understand where he went.
2. Living without him
3. Dealing with continued grief bursts.
4. Finding something to look forward to rather than simply existing.
5. Handling the yearning.

There are other challenges, of course, some unique to each individual, but all the challenges are dealt with the same way: By continuing to feel the pain when it erupts rather than turning away from it to satisfy the concerns of those who don’t understand; by taking care of ourselves even when we don’t see the point; by trying new things.

In other words, we meet the challenges of the second year by living. It sounds simple, but nothing about grief for a life mate/soul mate is simple. By living, we begin to move away from our pain, but we also move away from the person we loved more than any other. For some bereft, this feels like a betrayal of their love — how can you continue to live when life on this earth is denied him? For others, it seems like a betrayal of themselves — how can you become the person you need to be without betraying the person you once were?

It seems an impossible situation, yet life does continue whether we will it or not.

In my case, I’ve been meeting the challenges of the second year the same way I met the horrendous challenges of the first year. I take long walks almost every day, I exercise (stretching, weight-lifting) two or three times a week. I dance to a couple of songs most days, hoping to train myself to feel lighter in spirit and maybe even learn to have fun — whatever that is. I also try to eat a salad every day and stay away from sugar. At least, that’s the goal. I’m very disciplined for several days, following everything on this list, and then I decide the heck with the list — treating myself is more important than doing the right thing.

Either way, I am moving away from the life we once shared. And I am living.

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5 Responses to “Meeting the Challenges of the Second Year of Grief”

  1. Deborah Owen Says:

    It’s impossible to betray the person you once were as that person no longer exists. You’re forced to move forward in life. You’re evolving into someone new, and I think you’re doing it in the best way possible.

  2. Sally Says:

    My soulmate was diagnosed with cancer in February 2010. I lost him in February 2011. Tomorrow begins February 2012. Today I discovered: I am tired of grieving, having been there for two years. I need to be happy again; but I need to redefine “Happy”. I am working on it. sally

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sally, that’s a good point — needing to redefine “happy.” We can never be the same as we were, but we can find a different sort of happiness. Let me know what you discover. Best wishes for your new focus.


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