Totally different situations, but also similar.
First let me share a story. I follow a lot of blogs. One blog in particular, the blogger is going through a very big challenge. She blogs about it often. Someone told her she will never be able to move forward if she constantly focuses on this challenge. I completely disagree. Obviously, as I still blog about my sister and we are about 18 months out.
Another story. A patient of mine lost her mother to cancer. Her mother's death was painful and way too soon. She was in her early 60's but diagnosed at 50. This happened in December 2010. Same year as my sister. Since then, this woman is constantly on high alert. Every symptom she experiences, her mind immediately screams "CANCER". She's scared, she's on edge, and she does not know what to do.
Last week I helped in an exam on someone who had a suspicious mass. Thing is, she was young, so we were praying it was a benign mass. Today we learned it is not. I went into that awful, small room that doctors take you into to deliver news. I did that also with my sister. I watched a mom, dad, and sister cry as they heard the news. Yup, we did that, too. I listened to their questions that had no answers. I listened to them ask "What now?" and "What do you think is going to happen, Doctor?" to which the doctor couldn't answer. Takes me right back to September 2010. Same freaking thing.
I guess my point is... everyone grieves differently. You can't tell someone they are doing it "wrong". You can't tell someone it is time to move on. I am sure I don't speak just for myself when I say that I don't anticipate ever getting "over" my sister's incident and the changes it brought. It changed ME. I talk about her all the time. I blog about her just to get some feelings out of my head. I am on high alert. I learned that no one is immune to tragedy, so I now realize that it could strike again at any time. When Allison was sick, my mind wasn't thinking flu, my mind was thinking the worst. I don't know if that will change, but I can say that at this point it is going strong. I have learned that when you go through something difficult, you immediately think, "Why me? Why us? Why her?" and you become obsessed with those thoughts. Eventually, though, you are able to step back and see that bad things happen all the time, to a lot of people.
Bottom line: I'm not "over" it, and that is okay. But I do know that if I constantly live in the past, I miss out on the wonderful things that ARE happening. It is so easy to close yourself off from the world as a mechanism of protection. By moving forward, you aren't forgetting or dismissing what happened or what is happening. You are simply realizing that every minute counts. Every second counts. Bad things happen. They HAVE happened and they WILL happen. To you, to me, to anyone. You will NEVER see the rainbow if you remain focused on the rain.