I was pondering these past few days the thought that people are told to "move on" after a loss; especially the loss of a loved one. I have a fundamental issue with this, as does the grief literature I have read which slams this statement – speaking strongly of the damage such a statement can cause. Upon further thought, I believe that what we need to say and/or do, is advise people to “move forward, not on”.
Moving on seems to say that we are to "leave everything here and move on, move away, forget, let it go... just move on!"
Moving forward is to take your memories with you, take the good into the new season, never leave the memories or moments behind and don’t try and move on from them.
Grief and loss are complex, multifaceted, and multilayered
realities we experience.
Loss and our experience of grief are to be integrated into our lives, not moved on from. We so often want life to be black and white, choose A or choose B, 1 + 1 = 2… we love the clarity of this however the reality is that life is sometimes the complete opposite of such.
Grief is often very grey. It is a blend of then and now, a mixture of good and bad. We can’t just move on from grief, we need to take it with us and learn to live life well despite it.
People have all kinds of advice and well-meaning intentions on almost every topic you could mention, grief included. Be careful not to allow others to determine your journey, when and how and why you should do a, b or c. There are no timelines or rules to the grieving process.
Only you can know when you are ready to move forward after your loss and only you can truly decide what it means to move forward.
There is no doubt that the support of others is extremely important in walking such painful journeys. Embrace them and receive their love and support while recognizing that this is your journey and you know you best. You know when to move forward, when to pause and when to simply stop. You know when to laugh and when to cry, when to begin living the new you.
Moving on is important, but for me that means moving forward, taking the good and beautiful into your new reality. Remembering and celebrating the past while discovering and embracing the future.
He is Gone
by David Harkins
You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Many your future be filled with beautiful past memories and the making of new ones.
By Steve Morrison