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Planning For The Future

 

"How can I make plans and goals for the future, when I am missing the past?" 

 
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“Thank you for teaching me about the real process of grief. I was able to mourn with a co-worker. It was great to not feel lost. I knew what to say and how to help her. It felt really nice. It has also helped me understand what was happening for my wife when her grandmother died. Thank you.”
- Dan Deakin


"How can I make plans and goals for the future, when I am missing the past?"
 
Ever had that feeling? I not surprised, we all do at one point. 
"What is the point of moving forward, when all I can think about is the past?" is not an unrealistic or illogical request. It is not at all out of line and you are being completely "normal".
Here are a few ideas that might help.  
 
Dan Deakin asked me for help when his wife was struggling after losing her grandmother. She had lost more than just a loved one, she was losing any desire to look to the future, to plan, and set goals, to dream. 

His wife had lost a significant person in her life and her anchor to her family culture.
 
They are very proud of the French heritage, yet grandma was the only one left in the home country.
 
Now, with no anchor and connection to France, she no longer saw the point to her goals and aspirations to travel there.
 
She was ambivalent about her goals and desires to travel of do anything. 

This is what I encouraged him to do with and for his wife. 


1. Build a memorial to her grandmother and France. By pulling together he memories, photos, stories, and other objects from the past, she is able to incorporate that memory into the future. To many times, because it is emotionally safer, we close off and reject the memory. By making it forefront, we are able to hold it a little while longer. 

2. Ask "What would Grandma do?"  When we consider our future after the loss of a significant person, we can draw on the wisdom and passion their shared to honor them and to motivate us. Bringing the lost loved one into our goal setting and future planning, incorporates them into their future events as well. 

and

3. Don't make plans and goals so hasty. The time will come and you will be more open to the future. When that happens, use #2. #1 will help you get there. When it is time to make future plans and goals, you will be free to live the life you desire and bring with you the parts of pieces of the past that are most important to you. Others might be pushing you to take action and make plans, that is their need.
 
Don't pick up the "should's" and "have to's" of others. 
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