Mourning is a word that usually does not evoke happy thoughts or feelings. However, since death is a very real part of our lives, literally or figuratively, I believe we have to learn how to mourn and allow it to actually benefit us.
Not only do we hear about mourning the death of a friend or loved one or pet, we also hear about mourning the loss of a spouse through divorce; mourning the loss of a friendship though the friend is still alive; mourning the loss of a house to fire or foreclosure; mourning the perfect job or career; and the list could go on. Mourning is a very real and inevitable feeling that gives us the opportunity to recognize our loss and process it the best way we can. We all mourn differently and the mourning of a parent, spouse or child is different from mourning the loss of a friendship or job. However, both require us to acknowledge the pain, go through the process, and come out the other side, however long that takes, and have grown because of it. The mourning process also allows us to have an experience where we can share with others as they are going through it as well. This gives others, and ourselves, hope!
My real goal in this particular post is to focus on the sort of losses we experience when we move away from a church, neighborhood, or state that we loved. When we physically move from a place everything around us changes. This is a lot of change to handle all at one time. And sometimes we are doing this in a new state, where we don’t know anyone accept for our spouse and kids, if that is the family dynamics you are in. Other times we are experiencing this huge change without another physical person around that we know.
I have already talked about how we need to take a break during a transition. We have discovered that disappointments are inevitable during a transition. And we have discussed the importance of decision making so we can move on and more. All of these posts that I have written give us something positive to focus on which helps us through any process, to include mourning.
Here are some action steps that I recommend when your transition includes some big changes:
Plan for the transition to help reduce stress. Stress is a big contributing factor that hinders us from transitioning well. In regards to our move, we made a lot of plans, ahead of time, to help us ease into our new place. We bought the house ahead of time; we packed the proper paper work; we took a long trip to visit family and friends; we spent time talking about all the positives of our new state. We planned ahead.
Focus on the good memories of the place and people who lived there. I am very visual so one thing I do is make sure I have a calendar from the place I previously lived so I can be reminded of the fun aspects of that place for the rest of the year after I transition.
Stay in touch with your friends and share the process with them. Let them help ease you into your new reality. I will touch more on this in a future post.
Plan something fun during your transition – read this post for more ideas.
Pack your patience and positive attitude along with other important items. You will be stressed, so will your spouse and kids, so be more patient with yourself and others. Always look at the positive side of things no matter what is going on.
Don’t dwell on all the great things of the past and ignore all the great things happening in the NOW! So many of us spend so much time talking about how great such and such was that we miss out on how great the here and now is. Look for great things right where you are.
Be realistic about the previous house, neighborhood or church. This is similar to not dwelling from the previous point. We lived on the island of Oahu and though it is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit it was never going to be our permanent home. So when I start to miss it I remember the beautiful view we had from our deck in the back yard, I remember my sweet friends, I remember our weekly walks along the beach and then I also remind myself that it was not paradise to us and we can enjoy living anywhere God places us. The memories will always be a part of my life and my new life will be equally as beautiful, if not better, because I will invest my time and energy here just like I did on Oahu. And I remind myself that God is here as well – God is everywhere. I can learn to be content anywhere and with intention, I can create great memories right where I am.
Lastly, turn to God and trust Him through the process. This process takes time and God is always available. Allow yourself to mourn, with God, and ask for His sweet provision as you move from mourning into gladness.
Do you have any other tips that you have found helpful during
a physical transition like a move?