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  • Writer's pictureMaria

Moving Beyond "If Only..." in Grief

Celebrate love and connection, rather than what could have been

The death of someone we were close to is an experience that can shake us to our core. In the aftermath of loss, it's common to find ourselves caught in a cycle of "if only" thoughts.

If only we had said one more word, if only we had one more minute, if only we had expressed our love a little more often. These thoughts can consume us, trapping us in a web of guilt and regret.

However, it's crucial to understand that grieving doesn't mean reliving these moments endlessly or punishing ourselves for what we perceive as missed opportunities. You can reframe those "if only" thoughts and move towards healing.

It's okay to feel regret or guilt initially, but dwelling on these emotions won't change the past. Allow yourself to acknowledge these feelings without judgement. Understand that they are a natural part of the grieving process.

Remind yourself that you are human. None of us have the power to foresee the future or control every outcome. Be kind and compassionate to yourself and recognise that you did the best you could with the knowledge and resources you had at the time.

Instead of fixating on what you could have done differently, reflect on the positive moments you shared with the person who has died. Remember the times you laughed together, supported each other, and made precious memories.

Celebrate the love and connection you experienced, rather than dwelling on perceived shortcomings.

Recognise that life is unpredictable and fleeting. While it's natural to wish for more time with our loved ones, dwelling on what cannot be changed only prolongs our suffering. Instead, focus on cherishing the time you did have together and carry their memory forward with love and gratitude.

Surround yourself with understanding and compassionate individuals who can offer support. Whether it's friends, family, or a support group, sharing your feelings with others who have experienced loss can provide comfort and validation.

We have a wealth of qualified grief specialists who work with people like you who have experienced many different kinds of losses and are able to help you process your grief.

Find meaningful ways to remember the person who has died. This could involve creating a tribute, participating in activities they enjoyed, or supporting causes that were important to them. By keeping their spirit alive in your heart, you can find purpose.

Remember, grieving is a highly individual process, and there is no right or wrong way. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself space to heal. Reframing your "if only" thoughts takes time and practice, but with self-compassion and support, you can move towards a place of acceptance and peace.


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