The words fun and adventure are rarely discussed when someone is grieving. The grieving process can be lonely and full of a deep sense of loss and sadness for long periods of time. However, the grieving process can also include joy and inspiration.
Over the holidays, I had the opportunity to go to Disneyland with my sister to see my niece’s band perform. My last trip to Disneyland was over 17 years ago after my mother had passed away. As I walked through the park, I remembered how much joy it brought me to go to Disneyland even when I was in the midst of deep sadness.
My friends took me to Disneyland to help lift my spirits a few weeks after my mother’s funeral. It was hard to imagine having fun while I was full of sadness, but when my friends suggested going to Disneyland, I felt it would be an opportunity for me to relax and have a little fun.
My mom loved Disneyland, and we went often when I was growing up. Going to Disneyland not only was a way to have fun, it was also a way to connect with my mom through a shared passion for the happiest place on earth.
We had a magical day. We let go, we had fun and just enjoyed the sunshine and the rides. It was a tremendous release!
Taking the time to take your loved one out of the everyday heaviness they are experiencing, can be an uplifting gift that they will cherish. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started with planning an Inspirational Adventure:
1. What is their comfort level? Each person is unique and so to is the journey through the grieving process. When approaching a friend about getting out into the world, be compassionate about their comfort level. Always include them in the planning process.
2. Find adventures that are fun for them. What do they love to do? What have they always wanted to do? Help them reconnect with life and joy through the simple pleasures in life. Do they love going to the movies? Going to the beach? Walking through the park? Going to Disneyland? Did they always want to learn how to dance? Help them understand that they are allowed to have fun, even though they are grieving.
3. This is not a time to push or demand. Start out slow and offer options that move them in a direction of hope and joy. Allow them to say “no” if they are not ready.
4. Avoid surprises. The grieving process can be overwhelming. Even if your intentions are admirable, surprising someone that is grieving does not allow them the opportunity to back out if they are not ready or have had a rough day.
5. Start out slow and allow them to put one foot in front of the other. In the early stages of grief just getting out of bed and taking a walk can be difficult. Each little step forward will help your loved one restore balance in his or her life.
An Inspirational Adventure will not take away the deep feelings of sadness or cure the grief that your loved one is experiencing. However, it may bring a smile to their face, open their heart just a little, and help them begin to feel joy again.
Visit our Inspirational Adventure section on our website to read more inspirational stories and to share your story.