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Can’t You Just Get Over It and Move On?

It may be difficult for some to believe, but yes, I have been asked this question more than once in response to some of my writing about my late wife, Melissa.

The short answer is: Nope. 😐

Of course, being the person I am, I would want to continue the conversation with a clarification of terms. I like to understand clearly what it is we’re talking about here. What does one mean by get over it” or move on”?

Get over it”

Am I supposed to suddenly and magically forget my wife of 23 years, who was supposed to be my partner for the rest of my life? Am I supposed to stop talking to my son about his mother, stop sharing stories with him, stop reminding him of what a wonderful person she was and how proud she would be of him now?

How can anyone forget someone who has played such a significant role in your life? I will never forget the years that Melissa and I had together, nor would I want to.

One thing that I’ve learned through the grieving process is that I am not responsible for how someone else feels about my grief process. If you don’t like the way I’m grieving, the way I’m remembering my wife and my son’s mother, then frankly, that’s your problem, not mine. I say that firmly and factually, but not unkindly.

Move on”

I’m also unsure what is meant by this idea. Does it mean to simply stop talking about her? Is there an implication that I should find a new relationship (as if it were that simple)?

As Nora McInerny has said:

A grieving person…is going to move forward. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to move on.”

I will admit here that I have considered the possibility of a new relationship, but I’m not in a hurry, and there’s been no strike of lightning, no Hallmark movie moment. Perhaps if I bought a Christmas tree farm, or a coffee shop in a small, rural town. 😉

I think most single adults over the age of, say, 30 will vouch for the fact that it’s not easy in the relationship-finding world. There are people who are just not interested — I approached a certain person some time ago, and they laughed in response to my conversation, which is not an easy thing to forget. 😬 There are also just so many unique challenges with schedules, work, location, children, religion, etc. It was definitely much easier as a young college student.

I’m not in a hurry. And I think that’s a good thing for my situation.

Another important factor that I’ve learned about the grief process is that I get to define what moving on” means for me.

Maybe someday I’ll sell this house we’ve lived in for so long and move somewhere else. But maybe I don’t need to change anything.

Regardless of whether we’re dealing with grief or not, the simple truth remains that we don’t know what tomorrow holds. On Thursday, November 5, 2020, I had zero idea how much my life would change the next day. I couldn’t have borne the knowledge or the weight of it.

And it’s still true about my future — I don’t know what lies ahead. There will be some good things as well as some difficult things. And I’ll do my best to get through each situation.

As Megan Devine said in her book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK:

Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.”

There’s no easy fix” for the situation I’m currently in. I can only do my best to carry it.

Posted on 2023-05-07   #grief     #Melissa Dunn  

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