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.
Before the year ends, I want to summarize the two books I wrote that were the focus of my blog and podcast. This week, I share some of the highlights from my book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, which was released in January 2020. My blog posts and podcast episodes through June reflected the ways we can work through grief and begin to rebuild our lives.
When my husband died, the world as I knew it came to an end. I wrote about that ending and early days of grief in my first book, A Love So Great, A Grief So Deep, sharing the pain of losing someone I loved with my whole heart.
Healing from a major loss is not easy and isn’t accomplished in a few months or even a year. It is a process that involves coming to terms with something you had not expected or wanted.
Taking charge of rebuilding your life will empower you to step out in confidence.
You have completed and applied the suggestions given in the last six month’s posts on recovery and rebuilding. Losses can be tricky and difficult to process, and you can become discouraged. But when you recognize your progress, you will have confidence to keep marching forward.
You have grieved, accepted, let go and are now ready to put your energy into making plans for the future.
Before making any major long-term goals, some preliminary questions can help you avoid a lot of wasted time and energy. Some of those questions include identifying your strengths and weaknesses.
Have you given thoughtful consideration to what you would like to do in the future and what obstacles or barriers you may encounter?
Starting over is never easy.
When we started out in life, it seemed there was a more defined path to follow: going to college, establishing a career, getting married, starting a family, etc. Somehow it was easier to coordinate all the pieces and move in the direction we wanted to go.
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.”
You may be wondering why I am spending so much time on humor, laughter, blessings and gratitude in this series. I am because they are such powerful mindsets that can overcome depression, sorrow, and hopelessness.
They are some of life’s most powerful tools that can be used every day in many circumstances to lift our spirits and motivate us to look for ways to accomplish goals and be happy. This is especially beneficial when healing from a loss.
Did you know that just by searching for positive things to be grateful for, you are activating your brain to produce more feel-good hormones? Just by the process, you are changing how your brain is working. Wow – I think that’s pretty significant!
Most of us would agree that a blessing is something fortunate that has happened to us for which we are thankful. We think of them in the moment as a relief from pressure, something unexpected that reduces stress or makes us feel good.
I have discovered, however, that many times blessings come disguised and are only realized later. We are required to make tough choices within the challenges we face. Making those tough choices has taught me to think beyond the moment.
This was especially true when I was creating a new life for myself after the death of my husband. I knew I not only could survive, but I could use my skills to rebuild a meaningful life.
“I learned that we can withstand a lot of pain and loss and not just survive it but rise above it. I learned that no matter how sad you are today, happiness and laughter and even joy are still distinct possibilities for tomorrow, or if not tomorrow, the day after that. And I learned that you and I have in our power the ability to get all that and more. . . no matter what horrible thing has happened; life still offers you humor if you want it.”
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Ten Steps to Move from Recovery to Rebuilding
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