In her Ted Talk, writer and podcaster Nora McInerny shares her personal story with grief. In 2014 she went through multiple tragedies. She had her second miscarriage, her dad died of cancer, and as if her year couldn’t get any worse, her beloved husband passed away after a three-year battle with stage-four glioblastoma.
Since this incredibly difficult year, Nora has made a career talking about death and loss, written books, hosted a podcast, started a nonprofit, remarried, and had more children. Through all of these life changes, her pet peeve is when people say she has “moved on.” Instead, she considers it moving forward.
Below, we will go over some of the main points she shares and why it’s not moving on, it’s moving forward.
We all Will Eventually Experience Loss
Nora makes the sad but true point that eventually, at some point in our lives, we will experience a loss. Even if the loss isn’t as tragic as all of hers, at some point we will need to come to terms with death. That’s why she feels it’s so important to discuss this topic. By keeping the conversation open, people can share their experiences and not feel isolated in their time of need.
Continue to Talk about Your Loved One
When you lose a loved one, others may not know what to say or may become uncomfortable when death gets brought up. It’s important for those experiencing grief to find a group of people who share similar experiences who they can talk to. Support groups provide a safe space for people to share their thoughts, feelings, and stories about their loved one with no judgment. By being heard, they can move forward with their life and continue to cherish the lasting impact of their loved one.
No Grief is “Normal”
During her Ted Talk, Nora shares some of the confusing feelings she and others in her support group felt after their loses. For example, since she lost her husband young, she often feels rage when she sees happy old couples. Even though she’s currently in a happy marriage, it makes sense that she can’t help but wonder what it would’ve been like to grow old with her late husband. Overall, it’s okay to feel these conflicting emotions because no grief is normal.
Why It’s Not Moving on
Nora admits that her life is good now. She has a blended family she loves and a fulfilling career. However, that doesn’t mean she has moved on. By saying that we moved on, it’s implying that we are leaving our loved one’s memory and impact behind in order to get on with our lives. Instead, by saying we are moving forward, we are saying that we are beginning to cope with our grief and live our lives, while still having our loved one alive in our hearts. Our loved ones who have died still continue to impact our lives, who we are, and what we are currently doing. The moments we shared with them still matter and will always be an integral part of our lives.
It’s Not a Happy Ending, It’s a New Chapter
After our loss, we want to be done grieving and live happily ever after. However, that’s not reality. The truth is that we will move forward to a new chapter of our lives, and it can even be a good, happy chapter. And as we have these joyful experiences, we will continue to grow from our loss. We will continue to love those we lost, while also opening our hearts to new love.