How To Cope With Loss

How to cope with loss? A big question deserving some solid answers. Just by living life, we are bombarded with many forms of loss that can profoundly effect us, if not personally, collectively.

Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.  Walter Anderson

I’m not here to make note of the long list of losses that ripple out to touch us all. I am here to provide useful ways to cope with loss. Having been through a great deal of loss in a short period of time, I’ve learned a few things that helped me through the dark days and nights. Number one and most important, relief for grief is to grieve. If you deny yourself the time to grieve, you do yourself no favors. There were people who thought I should grieve the way they would, as this made sense to their sensibilities. My way was personal, not to be determined by the expectations of others, but privately with my husband and family. I found over time, people react to your personal grief in the way you present it to them.

Let me explain. After each loss I experienced, I had to continue working. After a brief break from work, for me, going back to what felt “normal” was the best thing I could do to move forward. If I broke down and cried, or freaked out, people did the same. If I was calm, they were calm, (at least on the outside) and this helped me return to doing something I loved and helped take me out of my head. There were people I discussed my loss with in more detail. Here’s what I discovered – once you go thru a similar experience others have, they open up about their personal, and very private stories of loss. Notably, when I lost our baby girl Reyn Tyler right before her birth, several women told me they had lost a child as well. This was a comfort of sorts, putting us on common ground, therefore allowing the discussion of grief to help us both move forward in our own way. When I lost my 21 year old son Wade, who was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver, people talked about similar losses. I learned it’s okay to show my vulnerability in a way I never had before.

Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.  – Mark Twain

We all suffer in some way. Loss, grief, and the process getting through to the other side has a million faces. Grief is the result of loss, and no matter what it is that has thrown you off balance, or rocked your world – there are ways to feel better. There is hope, happiness and relief to be found. Life goes on, and so must we. Do what works for you. For me, communication was important. Be easy on yourself and give yourself the time you need. Let people know what you need most when kind offers of assistance come in. Some people know just what to do, some want to do too much, and others fall away for a bit. Be patient, trust the process, and keep in mind that not everyone can deal with grieving souls. If you need help – get it.

One thing I can tell you is, over time the grief will pass, and you will move on. If you do not you will destroy the joy in your life, and this is sad, not only for you but for those who love and care for you. Moving on is why I became the founder of Living in Courage. I call it a spiritual oasis for overcoming life’s biggest challenges, because courage has changed the way I look at life, and the way I live my life. With every challenge we move through, the stronger and more courageous we become.