People tell me all the time in some way, shape, or form that they aren’t where they should be in grief.
Whether you’re crying too much or not crying enough, too happy or not happy at all, ready to date or have no desire whatsoever to get out there, the reality is there is no right or wrong way to experience grief.
In this episode, I’m inviting you to question, what if where you are right now is exactly where you’re supposed to be?
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 155, Where You Should be in Grief.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St. Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. My cold is gone. I feel better. Sorry you had to hear the cold in my voice the last couple of podcast episodes but I am super glad it is gone. So that has happened. And I just wrote an email about it too but just to mention it on the podcast.
We had a crazy tornado last Friday night as I’m recording this and of course I live in Kansas so this is not a new thing in Kansas. We are known for tornados. However, in the past couple of years we really haven’t had that many of them, weather patterns have been different and arguably changing. And so last Friday it was a total surprise to have an EF3 which we just haven’t seen that in a while. And it took almost the exact same path, a very similar path as an EF5 that we had in 1991. I remember that very well because I was in high school.
And I remember being so scared because I remember I was at my dad’s house when it happened. And I knew from what was happening on the television that it was potentially hitting my mom’s house. And I remember how scary that was. But anyway thankfully no one was hurt. The tornado was on the ground for about 20 minutes. And it really, well wow, the damage, so many houses just gone and a couple of my daughter’s friends lost their homes, a couple of my sorority sisters lost their homes. It’s a small community.
So, I live in Wichita and Andover is where the tornado hit. And Andover is the suburb, that’s where many of our friends live. And also, the YMCA, that the boyfriend goes to almost every day got hit so much so that you could just – I mean you can recognize it because you can see the signs. But wow, moments before people got out of their cars, got inside, got ushered into the locker rooms and then minutes later their cars were literally slammed against the building.
So anyway, all that to say I’m just really grateful that everyone is safe and healthy. And it taught me a couple of things, one is that I am not prepared since moving into this new house, couldn’t find a weather radio, didn’t have my shoes on. Totally dependent on self-service and power. And so, there’s so preparedness work that I want to do. And I want you to be thinking about that too because maybe you haven’t had whatever natural disasters or emergencies tend to happen in your area since your person passed, I don’t know.
If you haven’t, are you prepared? And if you aren’t prepared, what small little action could you take that would help you get prepared? I want you to be thinking about that. The other thing that occurred to me is that since buying this house I have not updated any sort of paperwork, my documentation is not in order. If something were to happen to me I would not be pleased with the state of my current documentation. And so that I was reminded of. And so, I also want to remind you of that.
So, is there a documentation that you need to update? And if so, what’s the next action you could take? Sometimes it can be overwhelming when we think about these bigger tasks, and so that’s why I’m asking you to consider, what is just the next action you could take and could you take that action soon?
And then the other thing that it’s reminded me of is just how precious life is. And of course, I think few people know this better than widowed moms know it but it was another reminder to me that some of these things that I have been stressing out about lately just really don’t matter when I zoom out and think about what’s important to me. Some of those little things just don’t matter and it’s a good reminder to me to focus on what does matter to me, what really is important and let the little stuff slide away.
So, I wanted to share those things with you because I feel like if I can add value to your life, even if it’s not directly widow related then I want to do that. So hopefully that will help you.
Getting into the episode for today. This came to me because of a coaching session I did today. I left that session and I felt pretty fired up. It was inside of Mom Goes On which is my signature coaching program. And it’s not an uncommon coaching issue, in fact it’s one of the most common issues that I’m presented with when I’m coaching people on grief. And that is that people tell me in some way and it shows up in many ways, but that in some way they aren’t where they should be in grief.
And this can be interesting because sometimes they intellectually know that I’m not where I should be is just a thought because maybe they have listened to my podcast. Or if they’re in my program they’re obviously following what I teach. But yet still they believe it. They believe that they are not where they should be in grief. So, wherever they are isn’t where they are supposed to be. And I wonder if this is happening to you. I bet it is. And we just need to find out where. I would offer to you that you try to find out where it’s happening so that you can apply this teaching to your life.
But is it that you’re crying too much or not enough? Is it that you are too happy or not happy enough? Is it that you want to take your wedding ring off too soon or you want to wear it too long? Or you’ve made too much progress or you’ve made not enough progress? Or you want to date too soon or you don’t want to date at all. Wherever it is that you are, if you are telling yourself that that’s not where you should be then this applies.
And what I want you to ask yourself if you’re noticing that you are thinking you are not where you should be is, says who? Who says you aren’t where you should be in your grief? Where did you get this idea? And ask that question lovingly and compassionately. Where did you pick this idea up in your life? Because you got it from somewhere. And we live in a culture that doesn’t really understand grief. And we live in a culture that believes we should just be happy all the time, lots of toxic positivity happening. And we live in a culture that says, “Move on, get back to living.”
So of course, somewhere along the line we picked up some unspoken rules about what our grief is supposed to look like and then where we think we should be in grief. But what I want you to know is that the grief police are not coming. The grief police are not going to give you a ticket, there are no citations. They are not going to tell you that you’re doing your grief wrong. And also no one’s going to tell you that you’re doing it right either. No one’s going to come truly with any sort of authority and tell you yay or nay, you are where you should be or you aren’t where you should be.
But I should be further along is the perfect thought to halt our progress. Think about that. I should be further along. I should be somewhere else. I shouldn’t be where I am. This shouldn’t be happening. How do you feel when those thoughts pop up into your mind? I should be further along. I should be doing better than I am. I should be crying less. I should be ready to date or I shouldn’t be dating yet. I should be happier or I shouldn’t be this happy. Feels terrible, doesn’t it?
And remember our brains, they’re kind of like dogs that are looking for bones in that they will tirelessly hunt for what they are looking for. So, when you’re believing the lie that you should be further along or you should be somewhere else, or where you are isn’t good enough, guess what your brain will start looking for? It will be doing its job and it will start looking for evidence of how where you are isn’t good enough. It will start showing you only data that lines up with this story of how you should be further along.
And the whole concept of I should be further along only exists because we have the idea that there’s somewhere we’re supposed to be, that there’s some right way, some wrong way of doing grief or of living life. But there isn’t. I should be further along just stalls you out. It keeps you stuck. It makes you feel insecure. It invalidates where you are. It argues with the reality of your current experience. And as I’ve said a million times quoting the lovely Byron Katie, when we argue with reality we lose but only a 100% of the time.
However, you’re experiencing grief, when you tell yourself that it shouldn’t be your experience you make it harder. And it seems like it could be helpful, doesn’t it? What if I give up this idea of I should be somewhere else, I shouldn’t be where I am, won’t that mean that I’ll stay stuck? No, the opposite is true. When you give up the idea that where you are isn’t okay, when you give up the idea that you should be further along, that’s what allows you to accept where you are.
And when you accept where you are and what’s actually happening then that’s when we can get some ownership over it. That’s when we can get some authority. That’s when we can start to get some leverage. And then we can start to shift things if we want to, not because we have to or because we’re supposed to be somewhere we aren’t but because maybe it’s not the experience that we want to continue having. Maybe we want a different experience.
So even though I know this thought feels noble, and helpful, and useful, and maybe even a little scary to give up, I should be further along. But I just want to encourage you to just for the purpose of experimentation, just try it out for a while. Just try out life without, I should be further along. Try on life with what if where I am is okay? What if how I’m experiencing grief is fine? What if there really are no grief police and everyone’s out there having a unique experience and how I’m thinking and feeling about my loss, and about myself, and about my life isn’t right or wrong, it isn’t good or bad it just is?
And once I stop arguing with it, if I want a different experience I can create one. Wherever I am is where I’m supposed to be. And how do I know that? Because it’s where I am. What if that was the way that you thought about yourself, and your grief, and your life? And then from that place, if you want you can make change.
Okay, I just – pain is a part of life. Pain is a part of grief. But what would grief be like without the judgment, without our ideas or doing it right or wrong? How much suffering could we prevent or halt when we can give up our own judgments about where we are relative to where somebody told us we were supposed to be or where we for some reason got this idea that we could or should be. It’s just so optional and that’s what I want for you.
Alright, whatever you’ve got going on this week, remember I love you and you’ve got this. Take care, I’ll see you next week, bye bye.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so that you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.