Walter Anderson is quoted as saying, ““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.”
Losing the people we love is a painful and emotional experience. I used to think that relationship demise or divorce were hard. But death is an experience that changes us to our very core. And I understand losing the people we love happens to all of us, and it happens more than once in our lives, but it doesn’t mean that it ever gets easier.
We lost Dad when I was 19, my brother when I was about to turn 35 and Mom when I was 40. The loss of these three very important people in my life threw my world into chaos and pain. I never thought I could survive the pain, numbness and the aching. But I did each time.
I have survived many losses in my life – and not just those related to death. Each loss has made me stronger emotionally and more resilient. Often, when we are hurting, we cannot see past the pain. It is when we start to heal that we start to understand what God’s doing and we allow ourselves to trust in the journey He’s laid out for us.
I lost someone very special to me this past weekend and while I understand she was suffering due to illness, I didn’t want her to leave us. She was my mother’s cousin and her best friend. I called her my aunt, so I am sad. She fought a one and half year battle with cancer and it was time for her to be with my mother and her family that had passed before. But I wasn’t ready to let her go. I wanted even just one more day to see her, to talk to her, to get be in her presence.
Losing both my parents and my younger brother (also to cancer), I do know how precious life is. This loss is yet another reminder that life is too short. We have to embrace life, live it to its fullest, and make memories with the people we love. And yeah, loss hurts. It is the worst feeling in the world. You’re angry and you don’t even know who or what you are angry at. You may feel discouraged, sad, lost and even fearful about the future.
As I work through my own grief, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And I am trying to get through that dark tunnel. It is a slow process, but I will get there. If you are going through a similar situation, remember to be kind to yourself. It took for a long time to learn to care for myself, look after myself, and share my pain rather than always trying to be strong. These are lessons that could have made my past healing experiences so much easier.
None of us like losing people. As I sit there letting the memories of my mother and my aunt sneak up on me, I remind myself life is an amazing journey. It is full of both pain and beauty. The pain and the challenges help you get to where you need to go. Everything in life happens for a reason, and even though we may not know those reasons, it is okay to embrace life, trust in the Almighty and make the most of every moment.
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen”. Dr Elizabeth Kubler-Ross