Thursday, October 13, 2016

A pile-up of losses

On Monday we talked about grieving a loss a little at a time, only taking it one step at a time as we can manage. Today I want to talk about how losses sometimes pile up.

A dear friend of mine had foot surgery not long ago, dealing with the pain of healing and the limitations to her mobility as she heals. She faces yet another surgery in a few more days, so she is far from done yet. There are losses embedded in those experiences. Meanwhile, she suffered the loss of a long-term friendship recently. And now her beloved canine family member (of 14 years) died. That's a lot of loss to handle at one time.

This is when incremental grieving is really important. Sometimes all the losses pile up and hit us upside the head. And it nearly bows us down to the ground.

Other times, we might be able to just pull out one of those losses and do some grieving. Feel the pain of loss. Be honest about your feelings. Pore over the good memories. Know they will always be part of you if you continue to cherish and nourish them. And only when you're ready, imagine new life—and move on.

Many books and articles have been written on grief. Find something that's helpful to you. Or talk with someone who is a good listener and has empathy. And take your time. Really! Take. Your. Time. Our culture tries to rush through grief so we can get back to "happy" again. But there really is no way to rush grief. It needs time to simmer and stew. You will need to be with it before you feel like moving on. And even then, pieces of it may return from time to time. It's OK. That's normal. 

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