After the loss of a dear one your life can be devastating, like it is hit by a hurricane. The impact can be so immense that you decide to do completely different things in life then at the time your dear one was still with you. I have seen people flourishing in the end after a huge loss. They seemed to have got a completely different personality, as if they are really alive now. As if the path of life they walked on, had changed its course.
The loss of a dearest is not the only event that can change your life. To name but a few examples: meeting your first love or your new love, your marriage, or the birth of your child or your grandchild. But it does not have to be about others though. It can also about yourself like: the successful completion of your training, or your resignation from a job, or a bankruptcy of your employer or perhaps your own, or just a casual event. Events that may result in getting new friends, or maybe losing friends. Events that give you understanding in who your real friends actually are, or what is of real importance in your life. Although you may realize this afterwards, it is about events that change your life (sometimes dramatically).
What matters in my opinion is that as a result of these events, you make totally different choices or decisions then you used to do.
Didn’t we used to be happy in those days and do we think we are happy today because we make totally different choices in life? I don’t think so! People used to be happy too and at present people can also be unhappy. Yet, I wonder the choices they earlier made were based upon.
Often the answer is given that today’s opportunities are quite different or more advanced than they used to be, or that values and norms changed. In my opinion that’s a cliché. When I used to travel around the world for my job, I sometimes felt like being a time traveler. Sometimes I ended up in places that felt to me as if I traveled back in history. At other times I visited companies, and saw products and processes that were so advanced that it felt as if you arrived in the future. In my opinion the rate of change of the world and the culture in which we live is determined by the degree of acceptance of the people living within that culture. It even can be the case that forces are at work that a culture becomes less advanced than it used to be. However, cultures cannot be compared one-to-one on all aspects. What we think is important in our culture does not necessarily mean that others living in a different culture than ours have the same opinion. That is OK though, as long as we accept each other!
No, the reason that people, especially after an immense personal loss, make totally different choices lies within themselves. In my line of thinking (almost) nothing happens by chance. Those people needed to learn several lessons. Lessons that at the time were important to them and maybe even still today. Lessons they needed to learn first, and above all gave them insight before they could continue on their path of life. These people literally start anew, as if they are again at the beginning of their life, only this time with a lot of knowledge and experience. These people live, as it were several lives in one human lifetime.
These people know better what they want to do today and with much more passion than before. They better assess the consequences of their choices today. Yes, they still make mistakes and they will continue to do so, but the difference is they are now better able in dealing with these. Moreover, risks that may occur to them are assessed at a lower level than they used to do. In the old days they were responsible for their family. In particular the financial responsibility and / or severe and prolonged illness of family member(s) could sometimes be a limiting factor in what you and your loved one wanted to achieve together. And especially when your children are self-supporting, you have to account to no-one anymore and you can do as you chose.
I have learned that you should seize the opportunities that you are offered. It is not so easy as that, obviously you have to see the opportunities first. It usually feels like a gift and afterwards it feels sometime as if a miracle has happened. The thing is that you should not only be aware of the things that are happening around you, but you should also be aware of your emotions, your thoughts, your feelings and the interactions between all of this. That is asking a lot of yourself.
When you have a busy job or you have a family or a relation, then many things happen concurrently. To say it gently, you are not always in a position to assess the interaction of your environment and yourself. You have rather the feeling that you are firefighting then living consciously. Let alone that you see opportunities that are occasionally offered to you. And even then it is questionable that you accept the consequences or the changes thereof. The consequences of those decisions are of a totally different order when you are in a relation then when you are on yourself. After the loss of a dearest your “environment” totally changes which actually forces you to think anew how to proceed with your life. Maybe that is the reason people start doing completely different things in their life than they used to do, especially when children are self-supporting.
What I have learned also is that as soon as you start looking ahead in your life the harsh side of your loss and your mourning goes off, everything becomes softer, and you can handle it much better. It also makes it easier to see your real personality.
Dear Reader, a ready-made recipe for everyone that leads to immediate results after the loss of a dearest, does not exist. But the light at the end of the tunnel is when you become receptive and that only happens when you are well on your way with processing your grief. And added to that, you should also be aware of what happens around you as well as the interactions with your emotions, thoughts and your feelings. When you are able to do so, you are able to look forward, and to work on your future… it is a way of living.