Finding Purpose After Losing a Loved One
Chances are pretty high that if you’re an older adult, you’ve had to cope with the loss of at least one person who was close to you. It may be the loss of a parent, the death of a spouse, or the loss of one or more dear friends. Our lives are full of significant events, from graduations, to honeymoons, to any given night full of joy and laughter, each one leaves an indelible mark on our lives and the absence of a loved one can lead to feeling profound sadness, grief, and loneliness. The loved ones around us provide us with a sense of purpose and belonging, and without them, those feelings can be much harder to find.
When grieving the loss of a loved one, there is much satisfaction to be found in creating something from scratch, whether it’s painting a watercolor or building a birdhouse. Even if you feel that you do not have the skill or talent, the simple act of creation can help to cultivate a curiosity and joy, and keep your mind and your body active. Creating can also be a powerful tool for expressing your grief and remembering the ones that you love. Activities like putting together a photo album or cooking their favorite dishes can help you to keep them alive.
It can understandably be difficult to imagine going about your regular activities without your loved one by your side. But paradoxically, maintaining a routine of practices that you enjoy such as yoga, walking, or gardening can give you a reason to get out of bed and out of your front door every morning. Active living also has many life changing benefits that encompass the five dimensions of wellness, physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual.
It can be easy to feel guilt based on wanting to do the things that make us happy after a recent loss. It is important, however, to remember that you can give yourself permission to pursue your passions. Grieving the loss of a loved one can hold you in place, and keep you from living the fulfilling life that you deserve. Give yourself time and space to heal, but also make sure to keep exploring your interests. Finding renewed purpose in your hobbies, old and new, can help you find peace and excitement in your life.
Losing a loved one can make you feel disoriented and like you lost your sense of purpose. Serving others by volunteering your time to local organizations is a powerful way to find purpose by making yourself a valuable member of the community. Consider your talents, your experience, and what you enjoy. Volunteering is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, as well as a great way to honor and contribute to the groups and organizations that were close to the heart of the loved ones you’ve lost.
You shouldn’t have to cope with the loss of a loved one alone. There’s no doubt that your life is full of friends and loved ones who have been through the same struggles as you, and can help walk alongside you on the hard days.