I wasn't 100% sure how to tackle this one, but loss is such an integral part of life and one that we can't push into the background. We need to acknowledge the losses that come our way and honour them - they all contribute to who we are and to our life story and deserve to be embraced as part of our journey.
There are so many different types of loss that people experience, I've been very sheltered in some ways - I've never lost a close friend or family member to death. I've read and heard so many accounts of the heartache that comes with unexpected or untimely deaths of husbands, wives, children or friends - there is no easy response to this, just a heartfelt sadness and the grieving process that comes with such a huge loss.
Others have lost loved ones through divorce or from children who have cut themselves off from the family. I spoke to an older lady at work recently whose husband had left and whose adult children no longer spoke to her. She had nobody close to care for her and, although she stoically accepted it, there was an underlying sorrow for what could have been if things had turned out differently.
Another loss comes through friendships that end in ways we wish were different. Small betrayals, lack of loyalty, poor choices, harsh words. Some things can never be taken back or undone and the friendship ends - along with years of closeness and shared experiences. When this happens, we need to remember the good times and put the hurt behind us - knowing those friends have moved on in their lives allows us to move forward with ours.
Yet another loss happens when you reach a time in life when you stop and realize things haven't panned out quite the way you had hoped. Perhaps you aren't as rich as you'd like to be, or as successful, the job you thought would be wonderful turns out to be tedious, the hopes and dreams you had for your children aren't fulfilled, the plans you had didn't come to fruition, and the list goes on. We need to recognize these losses and disappointments, take time to feel a little bit cheated (or whatever emotion comes to the fore) and then pull up our socks and move on.
Life is short and wishing and hoping and regretting losses doesn't change things. Sometimes all we can do is acknowledge them and the hurt that comes with them, and then look to the future and what it holds - it may never compensate us completely for what we've lost, but it is sure to have moments of joy and happiness waiting for us.