Coming to Terms with Loss
I don't know about you, but in my world there's a lot of loss happening lately.
Both in my own life and among my clients and students:
Marianne's best friends of 15 years moved away, and now strangers are living in the house she knew and loved so well.
Linda lost her brother when she was 10 and sometimes feels as if it were yesterday.
Christine's client of 9 years suddenly terminated her work contract last week. She's lost 75% of her income without warning.
Danielle just marked her mother's birthday ~ the first one since Mom died six months ago.
After 30 years of single living, Catherine's thinking about dating again ~ and the thought brings up all the issues she never resolved in her divorce.
In my own life, October 4 marked the four-year anniversary of the day my kittykat, Ali, love of my life, slipped out the back door of my new home and was never seen again.
Grief is a free-fall into groundlessness.
Whether we lose a loved one, a home, a marriage, a client, or a pet, a part of us goes with them, never to return. The loss makes us uncomfortably aware of the fragility and fleetingness of all we hold dear.
And yet it's impossible to live without experiencing loss.
What redemption can we find in such uncompromising reality?
After I lost Ali, I found myself spontaneously praying for all those who've suffered the agony of a disappeared loved one ~ spouses of soldiers missing in action, parents whose children were never found, and, of course, pet owners everywhere in the same predicament as me.
None of it brought my kitty back. But it brought me into kinship with a bigger world. Grief awakened me from my blithe insularity and forged my bittersweet membership in the human family.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There's no timetable by which grief should be done.
But there are a few things to keep in mind when coping with loss:
Trying to "get over it" doesn't help. The pain will shape-shift and diminish over time, but expecting it to disappear fully only makes it worse.
Grief takes many forms. Sadness, rage, intense self-blame, physical symptoms, and a return to old addictions (or taking up new ones) are among its myriad expressions.
Grief is lessened when it's shared. Talking about it ~ as much as you need to ~ helps move the pain through our system.
The most important thing you can do when you are grieving is to take care of yourself. Sleep, rest, companionship, emotional support, and regular, balanced meals allow the body and soul gently to adjust to the loss.
EFT Tapping is a great tool to help you discover equanimity and peace amidst the turmoil of grief. Listen and tap along with this audio recording to find a path back to your center.