“I’m moving!” The reason(s) you are moving has/have a significant impact not only on the tone of this statement but it affects the emotions which may linger long after the physical move has been completed. This virtual moving box, packed full of our emotions, should be marked “Fragile”.
It could be your move is taking you off to college or university; it could be bringing you closer to your grandchild(ren) or back to a parent who is now ailing; and for many it could be moving to a larger or smaller home. Moving can also be initiated by the loss or change of a job, the break-up or start of a serious relationship, or it could simply be for financial reasons.
Moving can result in a host of emotions ranging from excitement and anticipation to being overwhelmed with the work involved and the stress of any financial challenges. It could include regret of leaving loved ones or friends behind, or simply be filled with the fear of the unknown.
Few of us know how to work through the natural emotions which surface during the move or could possibly imagine the resulting grief which we may linger after the move.
While we have moved several times, they have all been within a 20-kilometre radius. Therefore most of the losses, typically experienced in a move of greater distance, did not affect my husband and me. We did, however, face many of these emotions when our 17-year-old daughter traveled 1,300 kilometres to attend post-secondary school. None of us chose to share our fears, concerns, or angst, and aside from hidden tears on the initial departure we all remained stoic.
Today, as a Grief Recovery Method® Specialist, I can clearly recognize the pain we all denied. Grief can be the result of any change in something familiar.
Moving definitely involves change to the familiar. Our daughter was no longer living in our home; we were empty nesters. Our daughter left her family and friends, had to learn to share a dorm room with a stranger, adjust to new surroundings, make new friends, adapt to the demands of university, etc.
In order for our daughter to have her own car, we drove her from Ontario to Nova Scotia. Upon arrival, and in a relatively short period of time, we helped her change over her driver’s licence and insurance, move into the dorm, ensure the necessary paperwork was in order, and get ourselves to the airport hotel. As parents we were devastated to leave her so young, so far away from home, to fend for herself.
I remember a conversation, years later, when I asked our daughter why she didn’t cry that day. She explained she had quickly left us at our hotel because she was being strong for us. Minutes down the road she pulled over, crying so hard, she could no longer see to drive.
We were all trying not to feel bad, to grieve alone, hoping for the passage of time to make it feel better.
As a child you may remember coming home and feeling distraught over something which transpired at school. Do you remember your parents telling you not to feel bad and offering you a cookie to distract you from your pain? While this distraction may have taken away the immediate hurt, you were never given the tools to express your feelings. Instead you learned to accept and process changes in your life by reasoning why it should or shouldn’t be painful. You learned to accept change on an intellectual level and you learned to deny your emotions.
The reality is the pain never goes away until you face it; until you go through it.
Emotions are anything but logical and therefore trying to talk yourself out of your pain rarely works. In fact, you may have become so skilled at denying your feelings, they may not surface again until they are triggered by another change in what has become the new familiar. Your next move can be overshadowed by these stored emotions, limiting your capacity for happiness and your ability to fully enjoy the current situation.
The solution is to deal with these stored emotions; to take action. But how?
First you must acknowledge these emotions exist. You must be willing to take ownership of them. It is important to say goodbye to what is being left behind. This is especially important for young children. To be given the opportunity to express gratitude for the good times shared in the current location. To say goodbye to friends and be allowed to tell these friends what they have meant. To say the things which need to be said.
The Grief Recovery Method® provides adults with the tools to deal with the grief resulting from a change in something which was familiar; introducing effective ways to bring emotional completion while providing the opportunity to complete any unfinished business with past relationships. Saying goodbye allows you to fully unpack that box marked ‘fragile’, opening yourself up to invest in what is yet to come!
Tammy Adams, Certified Coach Practitioner offering support, in-person or online, Canada-wide. She is certified in The Grief Recovery Method®, Personality Dimensions™, Reiki, Access Bars®, and Mindfulness. To learn more about the services she offers, book a 20-minute free phone consult, or visit her service tab on her website at www.tadams.ca