This is an excerpt from The Five Ways We Grieve, by Susan Berger, available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon:
Confronting the reality of having to live a changed life requires that you accept that your view of the world will change. Your loved one is gone physically.
Psychologically, your sense of identity, security and safety are gone. Socially, relationships with friends and family may change. Spiritually, you may feel abandoned by God and isolated from others. Not knowing who you are or where to go next, you are now faced with the most challenging task of all—creating a new identity and starting over in the business of living.
As noted in the Introduction, thanatologist and philosopher Thomas Attig calls this challenge “relearning the world.” It involves adapting to a changed social and physical world and redefining our relationship to the person we lost.
Most importantly, we are compelled to ask ourselves: Who am I? What choices do I have? How can I create meaning from my loss? Who will I be in my new life?
Since developing a new identity is a an important task in the grieving process, finding that new identity challenges us to find the answers to these critical questions. For most of us, this is a daunting task.