Here is wonderful post from a Mygrievingplace reader about finding something new after a loss.
Lost and Found
“So sorry about your loss.” A phrase heard frequently at the death of a loved one. I’ve said it myself, as a way of offering some solace and empathy to. a person who is grieving. Recently, I have been the recipient also. My father died in January of this year. In addition to the many anecdotes shared with my brother and I at Dad’s memorial service, we also heard this phrase.
The past year and a half, my brother and I have had many discussions about life, loneliness, love and loss. In the Spring of 2018, his wife died, my sister-in-law. As I have traveled this very difficult journey with him, there have been moments of profound grief and sadness. Recently, we had a discussion about identity. While I was under the misconception that identity concerns were solely a part of adolescent angst, I was surprised about the path of the conversation. It turns out that the loss of a loved one, whether a spouse, parent, sibling, child or friend, most of us eventually face a struggle to find a new identity. Who am I now?
“We’re orphans now,” confided my brother shortly after our Dad died. It was profound because even though we are both “elder” citizens, both parents are gone and now it’s just us from our original nuclear family. In addition, my brother’s loss of his wife just a few months earlier, had precipitated a crisis of identity. He had been her caregiver-husband during her protracted chronic illness.
It was an important “light-bulb” moment as we both recognized and ratified the significance of acknowledging how the loss of identity is a normal part of the grieving process. It can be huge. Grappling with processing and discovering one’s self anew can be paralyzing.