chapter  7
Inching forward in leaps and bounds
ByPenny Rawson
Pages 2

Why this title? As I thought about the way of grief, it seemed to me that often people feel as if they are making no progress at all. As referred to earlier, they often feel that they are walking though treacle. Each step can cost enormous effort, courage, and determination. It often involves an inner struggle to bother at all. So often one hears the question “What is the point?”. This applies often, too, for those losing a limb or perhaps suffering a serious change in health that prevents them from continuing the activities that they used to love, or prevents their working any more. It is frequently said by those whose spouse has died that they see no reason to carry on alone, such was the bond of attachment between the two. However as they look back, weeks after a death, they see that progress has been made. For example, everyone has been told, and the funeral has been got through. They have survived those first terrible days. By taking each day at a time, hour by hour they have 108survived. Months later the headstone has been chosen, ordered, and eventually is in place. This can be a very major hurdle for many and often is not achieved for months, if not years. Often this is a very real milestone, a mark of accepting that the past is past. This may bring with it another flood of grief, which at the time seems as overwhelming and deep as in the first stages. It is more contained, however, and when the tears or wave of sadness passes, one realizes that in the weeks, months, years that have passed, small steps and new beginnings have been made and that one is well on the road to accepting the new world that one now inhabits. As people look back over a year, perhaps on the anniversary, which is one of the big milestones, they realize that although at the time they did not appear to be making progress, in fact they have. Using the step-by-step approach a new skill has been acquired, a hurdle overcome, a new job or hobby acquired, the house redecorated, rearranged, or changed, a new friend has been made, an old acquaintance renewed. A decision has been made as to the next step. They realize that they have a lighter spirit; that awful weight and depth of gloom is dissipated or dissipating.