How often do we use the phrase, “to move on”? It seems that this piece of advice is the handy way to tell people how they should react from trauma. This phrase gets us out of the pregnant pause in a conversation when speaking to someone who has recently lost a loved one.

Maybe we can move on from losing a job, losing money, or simply doing something stupid, that is not a life changing event…Yes, we can move on from these events, whatever “moving on” really means.

I guess from this, you can guess how I now feel about this trite response. Let’s use it when your son or daughter strikes out in baseball, after a bad date or simply, for a bad hair day.

A client I have been working with for a few weeks after her husband’s passing, made this remark to me…..Why is everyone telling me to move on with my life… do you move on after 40 years of marriage? She further added emphatically, she did not want to hear this again.

I thought about this, because in all honesty, I may have used that same phrase. As we know from all the writings on this subject after a loss, there is a grieving process that takes many forms, but it is a process. Let those who have lost someone just grieve…..give them encouragement, give them support……check in on them, but don’t believe that saying, “move on” is what’s needed, because it is not.

The real change will take place over time. It can take place when the person has become a little better at ease with being alone. It can take place when that person receives phone calls from friends and family so that no one feels alone. For my client, she felt a change when the paperwork, the bills and piles of mail were reviewed by us together, and this “clutter” of paper became manageable.

One size does not fit all. Although, none of us want to think about losing a loved one, we know this door will eventually open, and we will be faced with similar feelings. What would we need in our life at that time, what will help?  When we solve this puzzle for ourselves, we will also know what could help others. It’s holiday time….who do you know that could use a phone call or a visit? Maybe that is the real gift of the Magi.

Take it for what it is…it’s just as I see it.