Loss is everywhere, sprinkled throughout our lives, from childhood into old age. Some losses are shrugged off without much thought or acknowledgement; others are managed, navigated and quickly set aside, but others are so big we can’t ignore them. They lay us on the floor with sorrow, and the grieving process takes hold of us completely. Recognizing the actual regularity of loss, and the proven ability you have to work through loss and move forward with your life allows you to take control of your daily experience. You are the creator of your own experience.
Activity: Get a pad of paper, a blank journal, or simply a notebook. (I’ve found that writing in a beautiful journal can be inspiring, but some people would rather use an inexpensive notebook.) Buy a pen you love to use — something that writes smoothly and effortlessly. It’s time to start chronicling your experiences. One reason grief disrupts so many aspects of your life is because your loss is not isolated — now is the time to reflect on the other losses in your life. In so doing, each will become an opportunity to experience grief, and release it.
List all the beings (animal companions, childhood friends, lovers, or partners) you’ve lost. Take a moment to honor each loss, perhaps closing the ritual by lighting a candle — a time-honored action of reverence.
Here’s an example list from my own life: My first cat, Beethoven; My childhood home; My first dog, B-B (short for “Beast,” a teacup Poodle!); My marriage; My husband; My favorite teaching job; My mother and father (one dead and the other estranged)
You get the idea, don’t you? What you’ll learn from this exercise is the recognition of your resiliency. You are strong, and you will survive this latest loss. Embrace the process, don’t resist it.
Let the healing begin!