Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Reinvest in the New Reality

Monday, February 16, 2015
Posted By: 
Gerry Sousa

I came across an interesting poster about grief in a very unexpected place recently. I saw this poster in a village building in Hoffman Estates. I was attending a winter concert there, and I saw the poster inside the bathroom! The poster showed a teardrop, and inside the teardrop it showed the tasks of grief:

The Tasks of Grief
T = to accept the reality of the loss
E = Experience the pain of the loss
A = Adjust to the new environment without the lost person
R = Reinvest in the new reality

I have some sense that, after 6 ½ years of working through my grief, these tasks are never really taken care of, like an action item on a to-do list. They swirl around for me and can intertwine themselves together at the different times. Past memories trigger so much for me as well as present events with my children that really make these tasks seem ongoing. I am okay with that most days!

But for how long? When do we work on the reinvestment in the new reality? What does that look like for us? How do we approach it? What if we really love our new reality? What if our new reality is not what we thought it might be? What if we absolutely hate our new reality? What can any of us do to make the reinvestment truly our own?

I’m not going to speculate on how to do all this. I know better than that! I can only share my experiences and go from there. I lost my husband, Dick, in November 2008, after having 2 children and 20 years of marriage with him. Accepting and feeling the pain of the loss really hit me my first year. The adjustment to the new environment was ongoing. Then, about 2011, there was a shift in me during that year. I felt some changes in me that were hard to describe. I started to notice men again. It’s as simple as that. I realized that if I didn’t try to go out there and try my hand at dating again, I knew what the alternative was. I wasn’t happy with the idea that I wouldn’t be in another loving relationship with a man that I loved. I had to try, just for my own benefit, and let the cards fall where they may. I also had to accept if it wasn’t meant to be, I would be ok, too.

In the process of trying the dating game, I met a wonderful man, Tim, and we have developed an incredible relationship for the last 2 ½ years. This relationship and all that it brings to me is a big part of the reinvestment of my new reality. We are making plans for our future, which will include buying a house together this year.

This reinvestment has been equally exciting and sometimes overwhelming for me. This relationship has been very satisfying for me, and I am enjoying every minute of it. But my past relationship with Dick is interwoven in this relationship to some degree. Is that a healthy thing or is it a hindrance? Time and experience will help me create that balance, I hope.

Are there times that I think that I’m going too fast? Absolutely. Are there times that I think that I’m going too slowly? Absolutely! But I know it is all forward movement with laughter, anxiety, tenderness, and lots of love along the way.

This is my new reality. If I stay open to the process, it will all unfold. I have experienced growth these last 6 years. All I can do is try to remain positive and open to these new feelings and experiences. Look for forward movement. It might be painful or it might be joyful. Just be open.


Some nice reflections that will benefit us all.. nice job...and nice meeting you the other night.

I really like Gerry's approach and her revelations. My loss came just months before hers, but I jumped into the dating game a bit sooner. Gerry approached it quite methodically and after seeing her success, I followed suit. What did she do? She began with reading Dating for Dummies. Wow! Who knew there would be such practical advise on the topic. Reading that book was one step in reinvesting in herself and I in myself. That was easy. The more difficult step was for me to take a good look at my expectations and reality. The reality is to not expect a knight in shining armor to rescue us for our victimized selves. One day I took a good look at myself and realized that only I can muster up whatever it takes to get control of my life and my finances. That doesn't mean that I don't accept help or even ask for it. It does, however, mean that I am going to do what it takes to get on a healthy path. Reinvesting may mean more education. Reinventing is being flexible enough to do what it takes to not only stay afloat but to thrive and thrive we will. WE WILL THRIVE BECAUSE WE WILL REINVEST IN OUR NEW REALITY AND ULTIMATELY REINVENT OURSELVES. Just as Gerry has found her wonderful man, I too found mine. We are planning an August wedding.

Thanks for this thought provoking blog. I have been struggling to find the happy/care free girl I used to be. But maybe I need to reinvest in a new reality huh? Reinvent? But how? Will have to figure that one out :) Thanks so much!

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