Many of us struggle with the concept of being present in the moment before us. I will be the first to admit I was a big daydreamer, especially as a high school student. My thoughts weren’t rooted in the past so much as they were focused on the future – mostly where I was going.
However, when a loved one dies, it’s often the opposite. We find ourselves riveted to the past because that’s where our loved ones were in our lives. We don’t want to be in the present because it’s too painful. And we don’t want to think about the future because it’s too hard to think about life without our loved ones. We know they won’t be with us for future events.
But to hear the messages that life presents to us, the messages that will help us cope and get where we’re supposed to be, we need to be in the present moment. We need to listen where we’re standing. I realize this is easier said than done and it’s something that I only recently began to grasp in my own life.
Perhaps it’s easier to keep ourselves anywhere but the present. There is comfort in the past, of what has already happened – probably because it’s predictable. But there is also comfort in the future, of what hasn’t happened yet and of what we can dream of. To be in the present means to feel the emotions of life as we are living it, not an easy task when we are filled with anxiety or dread.
I believe that becoming comfortable with existing in the present means that we are ready to move forward. If the messages do come to us in the present moment (and I believe they do because I’ve experienced them!), then why do we linger in the past? All for comfort? Though I might have preferred that once, life has taught me that by moving forward, I can be who I am truly supposed to be. I also have learned that no matter where I go, my loved ones are with me. No one can take our memories away from us. They are ours to keep. Nor can anyone steal our hope for the future.
Don’t miss out on who you’re supposed to be. Stay right where you’re at and listen. The messages are there waiting for you. They might even come from your loved ones who are still with you.
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about finding hope after loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Si..., inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.
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