“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” ~Joseph Campbell
Life is never a one way street with all the pieces fitting together. Each of us in our lifetime experiences a mixture of many situations. But one of the most disturbing situations we face is losing something important to us. Today, using my own experiences perhaps more clear than my explanations, I’d like to address some of our most common losses. Maybe you’ll recognize yourself in some of it as I go along.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~Vicki Harrison
Loss of a Loved One: This is one of the most difficult, and I don’t believe we ever fully recover. With some, it may take years to find peace with it. I lost my parents and both of my brothers, and I still live with the feeling they took a part of me with them. I don’t dwell on the loss, and I’m finally at peace. But I miss them, and when I look at their pictures, memories come back and I allow whatever comes up. Then I have to move on with the ebb and flow.
“After a break up, make sure to put your heart into intensive care. Give yourself time to heal. Focus on you, focus on good, focus on now.” ~Doe Zantanata
Divorce: I filed for divorce. I wanted it. But when the final papers arrived, I sank to the floor devastated. Why wasn’t I celebrating? After my initial tears, I realized I cried not for the relationship I just lost, but for never having the relationship I’d dreamed of growing up. When I was young I made the wrong choice…my mistake…12 miserable wasted years…stupid. I had to pick up the pieces, forgive myself and heal, and create a different life for my children and myself.
“Your child’s life will be filled with fresh experiences. It’s good if yours is as well.” ~Dr. Margaret Rutherford
Empty Nest: When our children leave the nest and venture out, we worry they can’t make it on their own. There’s less cooking and less laundry, the house feels empty, and we lose part of our parent role. So who are we? I kept in touch with my children, but I had to overcome my identity crisis and discover there was more to me than parent. And I began some inner growth.
“One day. Anything can happen in just one day.” ~Gayle Forman
Loss of Job: Loss of a job can be traumatic in any circumstance. It means tightening your belt and learning a new way to manage. It may even involve a major move, and a whole family can suffer. I lost jobs raising children without child support, and moving when my mother had a stroke. Each time I had to regroup and get help where I could. Then a job loss at age 47 forced me back to school into a new field of work where I spent many years as a Psych Therapist. Yes, a loss can bring a blessing.
Are any of these examples familiar to you? Loss is loss, and it can come from any life situation in our environment or within ourselves. It can create stress, anxiety, depression, fear, family tension, etc. And we wonder how we can survive. But we do. Every healing journey takes time and effort. But we all heal at our own pace.
The first step in finding your way through a loss is to accept that your life is and will be different. And then begin your healing. Christina Hibbert, Psy. D. gives clear direction for approaching and facilitating healing from loss. She says, “Instead of ignoring loss and trauma, or moving past them, we can choose to slow down, sit with each loss, examine it, and grieve it. It’s better to sink in and experience it now, than to find yourself drowning years later in losses that had no voice.”
Take care of your personal needs as you explore resources and alternatives. And reach out for support. Your life will change…you will change. But you’re not alone. And as time passes, look for a blessing. You may find something wonderful you would have missed without your challenge. You become stronger, wiser, more of who you’re meant to be. And that in itself is a blessing.
I Wish You Peace In Your Heart,
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of “Silent Echoes ” and “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country”