Monday Meditation: Sorting the Mess

“Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.”

-Marilyn Ferguson

If you’ve ever moved, you know how stressful it is to be surrounded by a mess that you have to put away. But, before you can put anything away, you have to figure out where everything is going to go, and to do that, first you have to organize the rooms and furniture. Then, after organizing, sorting, and putting away you are left with some things that just don’t fit anywhere. Turns out, moving was the easy part. Unpacking and reorganizing is long and frustrating. Finally, though, after years of living in organized disorder and shedding what no longer fits, you can say that you are done. Well, mostly…because you need new things to take the place of what didn’t fit or was broken along the way.

The transition to post-loss life is the reorganizing, sorting, and rehousing of all the things that get moved after a loss: emotions, priorities, relationships, goals, etc. Adjusting to post-loss chaos is the hard work of staring at a life in piles and saying, “What now?” We even find, among this mess, items we no longer need, they have lost their usefulness or their importance, and so our discard pile grows.

Life after loss is a mess, and wading through this mess is long, arduous, lonely, and daunting. But it’s work that must be done.

Photo by Henry & Co. on

While life doesn’t exactly get “better,” things can become less frustrating, painful, and chaotic. We cannot escape this massive mess surrounding us, we must wade through it, sort it out piece by piece, rehouse what we need, dispose of what we don’t, and reserve room for new things that better fit the space we inhabit post-loss. Only but taking time, and making the painful effort, can we begin to find peace and clarity after a loss.

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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