Wednesday, 25 May 2016

#11 Embrace Loss

life is never perfect - we need to accept that there will be times of loss and grief

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.

"Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have." Ptr. John Piper.

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.

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life is never perfect - we need to accept that there will be times of loss and grief

30 comments:

  1. I think the hardest part at least for me for years was not letting myself distract from the loss. I have finally learned after 46 years on this planet that only if I feel and grieve and embrace the loss and sadness can I move through.

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    1. I completely agree Carla - you can't just push it away and pretend it didn't hurt - sometimes we just need to stop and give it the time and attention it deserves and let ourselves slowly heal.

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  2. Yes, life has all the colors and all the grey and black is part of it. We must accept loss as part of life.
    Carol
    http://carolcassara.com/senior-sex/

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    1. Good point Carol - we can't avoid grey and black and they give the other colours definition don't they?

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  3. Loss is inevitable but life is also an adventure. We just have to get up when we fall.

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    1. I agree Rebecca - we all have those moments when life didn't turn out the way we expected, but to stay and dwell there means that we miss out on the rest that life has to offer.

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  4. Very insightful. I have always thought of death when I think of loss, Never thought about it in the other forms.

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    1. I think there are so many different types of losses that impact differently on us all Rena - and to not acknowledge them means we limit ourselves and our life experiences.

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  5. Wise words indeed Leanne, I never had an idea in my mind of how I wanted my life to be, but recently I have started worrying a little more about what the future holds (which isn't truly a loss yet). I do allow my mind to wonder, before pulling it back and focusing on the here and now and all the positives.

    xx

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    1. I didn't think I had a picture of how I wanted things to be either Debbie, but I realize when I feel disappointed it can be due to the loss of something I hadn't consciously even known was important to me - the mind is a strange thing at times!

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  6. This is so comforting and true. Rare is the person who hasn't experienced loss at one point or another. We have no choice but to move on, I suppose.

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    1. Sometimes we get stuck Sheryl, but I think ultimately it's in our best interests to take the time to acknowledge the loss but then to pull our socks up and get on with living - tough love really!

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  7. Yes, we've all had to suffer loss on some level. I think the key is to always bounce back. It might take a while but you always must rise above!

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    1. Bouncing back and moving forward has to be the best solution or we'd all be stuck wallowing in the unfairness of the losses life deals us wouldn't we (and how sad that would be!)

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  8. Having lost both my parents and also my best friend (and a couple of other friends over the years) I am happy you didn't try to offer advice for that situation. Grief has its own timetable and different people deal with it in different ways. I even reacted differently to my mother's death (I was 12) than I did, as an adult, to my father's death (I was 33)perhaps because I was different people at those two points in time. We all are going to have losses in our lives, and we do learn from the experience. But it never becomes easier for major losses, I suspect. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I cannot even begin to fathom what it would be like to lose your mother at such a young age Alana - it must colour your world every day - there is no way I would be able to offer even the remotest advice to people who have lost such important family members and friends - other than to acknowledge how resilient we are and how we somehow manage to move through it and keep going. You are amazing to have handled so many losses x

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  9. So true and beautifully expressed. Thank you. I've lost so many people this past year — though not through death but through broken family relationships. A tough one. And now, with my dad and my mother-in-law within death's grasp, the losses will increase in the coming month. We all go on, though. Thank you for the reminder.

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    1. That is so awful for you Lisa - broken relationships are like death and divorce - loss that just keeps on going. You have certainly had (and continue to have) a really tough time and I truly hope you have family and friends to support you through it all x

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  10. Leanne, you tackled this beautifully. Sad to hear your story of someone at your work who has no one. But it is easy to do in a scary way...a harsh word to a friend, etc. There is indeed a time and place for everything, and the longer we each live, the more we will grieve. And that's just it...wipe your tears, trust God and have faith.

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    1. I can't imagine what it would be like to have nobody to put in the "next of kin" box on a hospital form Terri - there are so many people who have had some bitter lessons from life. I just hope and pray that I can manage to put relationships above being right and not lose people through those words that slip out when they shouldn't.

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  11. I just told my daughter today - no point in beating yourself up over what you did in the past. Your situation is what it is and you need to do what you can now to move forward. But loss is painful. There is no timeline on grief. We have to trust God with our pain. Good post.

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    1. Thanks Cathy - I agree that the timeline varies for everyone - some losses are so much bigger than others, but I really believe that we have to give them to God eventually and start moving forward because spinning our wheels in one place will only bury us deeper.

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  12. This was so inspirational for such a sad subject. We all experience loss in its various forms and I love your advice to acknowledge the loss and disappointment, give yourself time to hurt or feel cheated, and then move on.

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    1. Thanks so much Tamuria - I hope I handled it well because it is such a difficult subject - loss has so many faces and so many layers. I didn't want to be flippant, but rather acknowledge the impact and move forward.

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  13. I love that you have mentioned the various forms of loss Leanne. We usually just associate loss with death but there are so many ways we can experience loss. I think a very important one is loss of identity and then reaching midlife and wondering who we really are. Great post.

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    1. Loss of identity is a huge one for midlifers isn't it Sue? I am so grateful to have discovered a community of women who are making this a special time of life - rather than mourning lost youth or lost opportunities - thanks for being one of them xx

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  14. Life is, sadly, full of so much loss. That's why it's so important to treasure and appreciate every single day.

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    1. I agree Lois - there are no guarantees so we need to celebrate every moment.

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  15. Loss is such a hard, intimate, painful thing. I have been with 3 beings as they left this world, 3 that I loved deeply, and the loss threw me for years. It changes you, makes you a different person. I also have an AI disease that changed my life, what I can do physically. It is a loss of who I was, who I had spent 40+ years making. That's been so hard. But, it has also pushed me to pursue other avenues, find our what I can do, and what I enjoy with the new parameters. Change is hard, loss is harder, but it defines you, sharpens you, you learn to pick yourself up and keep going. For me, I couldn't do it alone, my faith helped me pick myself up and keep going each day. As I get older the losses, friends, family, happen more often, each time is another lesson in how short life is, and to enjoy each and every minute that I am lucky enough to have.

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    1. Nikki you just summed up every thought I was trying to get at in this post (wisdom from experience!) Loss can make us or break us and you have chosen to use it to make you stronger and better and I admire that so much in you! x

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