Life can change in the blink of an eye; one minute you are living life to the fullest and the next you are faced with some catastrophe. Whether it is the loss of a job or a loved one who has been diagnosed with a serious illness, you hear yourself cry out, “Please God, No.”
Whatever the situation, whether you have just received some earth-shattering news or you have simply reached a point where everything in life lacks purpose or meaning, it is a place where you recognize as never before your shortcomings and reach out to God for guidance and strength, and friends for support and encouragement.
Yesterday was just another day in the normal scheme of things. People went to work, business transactions took place in prestigious office towers, and the Internet took us around the world in seconds.
But for me, the world stopped. Once more I felt the deep pain of losing someone who made the sun shine and grey skies go away.
For, like my husband who died seven years earlier, my special little guy made life fun and full of meaning. And once again, I am caught off balance, struggling to find a way to move forward. Once again, my heart is torn, and tears keep falling and won’t stop.
Learning new skills requires perseverance, dedication, and hard work. It seems at times we are pushing that proverbial stone that doesn’t want to move. And then, one morning, we wake up and find ourselves sitting on top of it! We haven’t moved it… we haven’t gone around it… we have climbed on top and are on our way over it!
That’s how I feel this morning. I have reached the top! I don’t know how I got here, but here I am. Every morning I have written about my struggle to believe, make sense of what happened, let go of the past and move forward. I was developing a new skill.
My thoughts and feelings ebb and flow like the tides of the ocean. I close my eyes and pictures from the past flood my mind.
Seagulls wheel and soar above the ocean waves. On the sandy beaches below, patterns and ridges are being shaped and molded by incoming tides. Sea grasses dance in the wind at the ocean’s edge, weaving shadows of beauty and grace on endless sand. The sun’s kisses on the tips of waves turn them into sparkling diamonds that dazzle the eye.
A crowd gathered in the expansive home of a friend and colleague of my son. We were there to honor and celebrate his life.
After mingling and getting acquainted, we gathered in the spacious living room to share our stories about Don. One story I heard for the first time truly epitomized my son. Many people who gathered there that day used to meet regularly as a support group, where they encouraged each other as they endeavored to survive in a very tough industry, discussing potential and collaborative efforts on projects and their careers.
Fall brings bright new colors as leaves turn red, yellow, and orange before falling, creating a lush carpet on the ground around them. The trees are preparing for hibernation to survive the cold of winter.
When winter arrives, we snuggle into our comforters or ski jackets when outdoors, enjoying hot chocolate and cookies.
Then, as the days get longer, the ground wakes up, and bulbs planted in autumn push their way up through the hard ground to add new color that promises a bright spring.
Throughout life we experience different seasons – not as predictable as the seasons of nature, but they are there.
Grief is a journey requiring time and an open mind as we grasp the significance of our life, both before our loss and for what lays ahead.
There will be moments when we acutely feel the need of understanding and comfort, and if we can be open to those moments, we will be rewarded with not only comfort but a greater understanding of life itself.
When I was healing from the losses of my husband and then my son, I was writing and working with others on similar journeys.
As I read, studied, and took additional training about healing from loss as a therapist, a book written by Linda Richman captured my attention. We seldom think of humor as important when grieving, but it not only is relevant and but can be instrumental in our healing process.
In her book, “I’d Rather Laugh: How to Be Happy Even When Life Has Other Plans for You,” Linda Richman tells her story of pain from the losses in her life, culminating in the loss of her young son and working through that tragedy with humor.
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