Moving on after you lose someone you love isn’t about “getting over it.” You’ll don’t just get over it and you’ll never be the same.
But, you will get through it. And you might even learn how to move on in ways that surprise you! Maybe your way of “moving on” involves talking to your departed husband at breakfast, or writing letters to the child you once held in your arms. Maybe you reminisce about dear old dad with your young son, or share memories of a lost friend, lover, or family member with new companions in your life.
Maybe moving on after losing someone you love is about bringing that person with you into a new season of life.
My week has been shadowed by loss and death. We unexpectedly lost a member of our church, and it hasn’t been easy. My husband’s family is grieving the death of a sister; the memorial service is today. One of my fellow Christian authors — 37 year old Rachel Held Evans, author of Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again — died on Saturday of complications due to antibiotics. She leaves behind a husband and two little boys.
Lots of loss…and yet so much life! Surprises, parties, invitations to summer barbecues, 80th birthday celebrations, pregnant women due any day, plans for summer travel and adventures, fresh new plants and flowers and blossoms in my home, yard and forest.
Also lifting my spirits is the sermon series at my church. We’re talking about the afterlife and life after death. Moving on after losing a loved one is different when we consider God’s new creation, the new heaven and new earth that believers will experience together. Death is the end of life as we know it here on earth…but death may be the beginning of an afterlife that is beyond our wildest imaginings.
Surviving life after losing someone you love is more bearable if you live in faith and hope for what awaits. Especially if it’s an afterlife that involves the new heaven and new earth!
3 Ideas for Moving On After Loss
Last week I told my small group (my church has community groups that meet weekly) that I believe our work in the new creation will be fulfilling and life-giving. We won’t all be gardeners and fishermen, though. Some of us will be engineers, others musicians. Some of us might design new bridges in the new Jerusalem to accommodate all the extra traffic, others will detangle lions’ manes and climb trees (figs don’t pick themselves, you know).
One thing that has always helped me move on after losing someone I love is the idea that this world isn’t all there is. I believe my walk (and my adventures!) with Jesus here on earth will continue after I die. And the stronger and deeper my relationship with the Holy Spirit is now, the more powerful it’ll be in the afterlife.
How do you build a strong relationship with God? My old pastor used to say, “Stay under the spout where the Holy Spirit pours out.” You know you’re under the right spout when you’re truly alive and infused with God’s love, joy, freedom and peace.
My three tips for moving on after losing someone you love are about coming alive today. Grieve your loss while moving forward with hope and faith. Say goodbye to the way your life was; bring your heart and soul with you into a new season of life.
1. Take good care of your spiritual, emotional, cognitive, and physical health
“If I had known I was going to live this long,” said Mickey Mantle, “I’d have taken better care of myself.” Mantle was 63 years old when he died of diseases brought by a lifetime of heavy drinking. You might not be that sick, but do you feel enthusiastic, energized, even eager to get up in the morning? Your body might not be fully cooperative, but are you nurturing and growing your mind, heart, and spirit?
2. Be curious about God’s plans for you!
“One day soon you will hear that I am dead,” said American evangelist Dwight Moody. “Do not believe it. I will then be alive as never before.”
What if God’s face-to-face presence is better than the best day of your life? What if the afterlife is the most liberating, joyful experience you ever have? Be curious about the new creation — but be even more curious about today! One of the best, healthiest ways to move on after losing someone you love is to live fully here and now. Talk to fellow believers, find practical ways to plant and grow the Kingdom of Heaven in your daily life.
3. Practice listening for God’s still small voice
What if God is speaking to you almost all the time? The more you practice following up on those innocuous little nudges and ideas, the better you get at hearing God’s voice. Perhaps part of moving on after losing someone you love is about seeing Jesus in unexpected people and places. Pay attention to the world around you. Respond when you feel an impulse to make a call, send an email, talk to a stranger. And then think about what happened when you responded to the impulse. The more you reflect on what you felt, how you responded and what happened, the more attuned you’ll be to the Holy Spirit’s sweet sacred whisper.
“If you practice what I’m telling you,” said Jesus in John 8:51 (The Message), “you’ll never have to look death in the face.”
A She Blossoms reader recently shared an excellent TED talk on how to move forward after losing someone you love. It’s called The messy, complicated truth about grief; it’s only four minutes long and worth every second! The speaker — Nora McInerny — is the author of No Happy Endings: A Memoir.
How will you move on after losing someone you love? What will you choose to do, think, and be in this new season of your life?
If your heart is broken because of a breakup, you may find How to Move On From a Relationship When You’re Still in Love helpful.
New on She Blossoms
When You Feel Rejected by Everyone – How do you cope when you feel like everyone is rejecting you? Abandoned by your best friend, betrayed by your husband or boyfriend, rejected by your family members — what to do when you feel like you’re all alone in the world?
A Simple Way to Return to God – Backsliding, wandering, sinning — whatever you call it, you haven’t been walking with God. After falling away from God, how do you return? How do you face your Heavenly Father after being away so long? What can you say to make Him love you again?
How Do You Trust God After Losing Someone You Love? – Trusting God is easy when life is good and your loved ones are within reach! But how do you trust God when you lose someone you love? How do you have faith in a God who lets your daughter die, your husband leave, your sister suffer, your friend abused?