When you’re mourning the loss of a loved one, it’s very natural and easy to get trapped in your memories of the past and how things used to be. Let’s take a moment to examine your past, as well as the present and the future, and how this exercise can help you to better understand the grief process.
If you will, imagine your past, present and future like three pieces of paper all tied together with a string running through the middle of each. If you were to pick up one end of the string and dangle it in the air, the papers would not fly away for they are inextricably connected – one leading to the next.
Although they each have an impact on the other, Marcel Pagnol states, “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is and the future less resolved than it will be.”
When you remember the PAST, it’s easy to block out the negatives and recall only a rosy picture. Although, it’s great to remember your past glowingly, try not to romanticize it so much that the present pales in comparison to it.
In the PRESENT, with so much to do and so little time, it’s very easy to get caught up in the minutia of your life. You can become vulnerable to a sense of being overwhelmed, or you may not be able to see the forest for the trees.
Keep in mind that you will encounter ups and down in every era of your life. At times, it’s important to step back and put current difficulties in perspective so you can figure out the best way to move through them.
And then there is the FUTURE. If you’re always worrying about the future – and this leads to chronic indecision and subsequent procrastination – you can freeze in place and end up avoiding any forward moving action. This, in turn, can lead to more worry.
In essence, you’ve created a vicious circle that is of no benefit to you. So, although procrastination has its place (for example, when you pause to digest new lessons before tackling your next obstacle), you also have to learn to temper it and find the right balance between it and total inaction.
While it’s a very good idea to always keep an “eye” on the future and move forward towards your goals, it’s equally important to live in and enjoy the present moment before it speeds by – never to be recaptured again.
While still mourning your loved one, make sure to also cherish all the small moments of joy you can find with the family and friends who still surround you. As you have learned through your loss, the only time that is promised to you and them is now.