One of the realities of retirement is that, at some point, we will all grieve. It’s a natural process we all go through, however, no matter who it’s for. It isn’t easy to explain or deal with.
Life without that special person can be challenging and filled with waves of feelings and emotions. At first, it can feel like you have been shipwrecked, drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the grandeur of the ship that was but is no more.
During this time, all that you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float, adrift in your thoughts, feelings, and actions.H
In the beginning, the waves can feel as if they are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come just seconds apart and don’t give you any time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, the waves will remain 100 feet tall, but they come further apart.
They still crash over you and can leave you feeling wiped out, but in between, you can breathe and begin to function more. You never know what’s going to trigger a wave. It might be a date, a song, a picture, or a memorable fragrance. It can be just about anything, but in between waves, there is life.
It’s different for everyone, yet somewhere down the line, the waves begin to shrink and are only 50-60 feet tall. While they still come, they are further and further apart and you can begin to see them coming.
Whether it’s an anniversary, a birthday, or favorite place, you can see it on the horizon and prepare yourself for it. As it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Drenched and clinging to some tiny piece of the wreckage, you persevere.
Inevitably, the waves never stop coming, and ironically you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them as well as others too. In the end, if you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loving relationships that will always stay afloat in your heart and mind.
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About the Author:
As the Retirement Activist, Robert Laura created the Retirement Coaches Association and RetirementProject.org. He is the leading voice for the retirement coaching industry and has pioneered many tools and resources to help people prepare for the non-financial aspects of retirement including the Certified Professional Retirement Coach CRPC training and designation.
He is the author of several books and guides including Naked Retirement and Retirement Rx. He is also a nationally syndicated columnist for Forbes.com and Financial Advisor Magazine. Robert is a sought-after corporate trainer, speaker, consultant, and financial expert witness. He can be reached here