Grief is the emotional equivalent of vomit - very unpleasant but very necessary. Swallowing it, like swallowing your vomit, will lead to bad consequences.
The thoughts that flood into the mind following the death of a loved one will range from truly selfless regret, through guilt - ‘if only I’d done this, hadn’t done that,’ etc - to the most appallingly selfish - ‘Thank God it wasn’t me’, ‘Why did you leave me, you bastard’, ‘Thank God I don’t have to put up with your . . . . any more’, and probably worse. It is important to understand that these mean nothing. It is just the brain, the psyche, getting rid of unwanted rubbish as it looks for ways to help you deal with the pain of a wrenching reality. Just let them go. Much of what we do is determined in our unconscious mind and it can always be trusted to strive for our best interests. Once it has moved these thoughts from the darker reaches of your mind out into the daylight of your consciousness, they can no longer fester and disturb – they lose any power to harm you.
Forget dreadful buzzwords such as ‘closure’ and ‘moving on’. They are part of the modern, and grotesque, idea that no one anywhere should have to suffer anything ever, and they are not only meaningless they can be downright injurious.
Grief cannot be ‘closed’ - there is no end to it - you lose a loved one and you remember it, and them, always - as you should - how else will you learn, perhaps gain a little wisdom, benefit from their part in your life? The disabling effects of grief naturally dwindle – gradually the time between waking and the first memory becomes longer and the inevitable emotional response to that memory becomes less painful. You are letting go of the unimportant parts of the relationship. The best part of a loved one will always be with you. You will know when your clinging to grief is becoming self-indulgence by answering the question, ‘would . . . have wanted me to be permanently miserable, or would they have wanted me to remember them but to enjoy my life?’ And what would you have wanted for them had you died first?
As for ‘moving on’, how can you possibly not? With the first breath you take after the death you are moving on. Every action, however trivial, changes your entire future. There is no time when nothing happens - always there are consequences - always you are ‘moving on’. Grieving is part of adjusting to a new normality.