This grief model by Louis Tonkins really helps to make sense of what grief really looks like over time.
I kept getting told that over time, my grief would grow less and this terrified me. If my grief grew less, did that mean I'd forget him?
I held on to every memory so I'd never forget. I copied all the text messages we'd ever sent each other. I printed out every email we'd ever written to each other. I made a big timeline on a roll of wallpaper lining and wrote down everything I could remember that we'd ever done together, included anniversaries, holidays, trips away, staycations.
Literally, I tried to recreate our lives together. Needless to say, I used a whole roll.
I kept his slippers under the bed, the crisp packets that lay under his side of the bed. The glass he'd left on his side, I kept that too, I could see his lip marks on the glass. I kept everything.
Then I saw a counsellor. When I told her about actions, she assured me that our grief doesn't change, we never forget, or lose the grief, we just learn to manage it better, and our lives grow slowly alongside our grief to enable us to live with gratitude, and smile because we were blessed to have them.
It takes time, I am glad to be in a place where I'm so glad to have had him It doesn't stop you missing them, but it does allow you time to grow your life around what is left behind.
Helping Others Understand
You may be reading this as someone who hasn't experienced a significant death, or you're trying to help others. This picture is fabulous, it illustrates clearly that time doesn't make grief go away, if someone is hurting 6 months or 6 years down the line, their grief is still there, they're just managing to put a life around their grief. They just need your support, and to be allowed to process their grief at their speed.
Just be there, be present, be kind and listen.