Q: Kim, How will I ever survive this loss?
A: Over the years I have spoken with so many bereaved loved ones as well as read and studied grief extensively. After losing a son and a sister, 5 years apart and by the time I was 40, grief has been a major part of my adult life. Losing Jack in 2004 and Kristen in 2009, created the broken road that led me to coaching as a profession. There are a few fundamentals that can guide our steps through this devastating pain. First, know that as human beings we are built to endure loss. It is an inevitable part of our human experience. We will lose loved ones, potentially in untimely and tragic ways, and we will eventual pass ourselves. During our darkest moments, we do not need to know how we will survive, but rather that we will. It is never a “getting over”, but a weaving of this wonder and pain into the fabric of our lives. Over time, our body, mind, and soul become accustomed to our new reality. The tears and overwhelming waves of grief wash over us and each time, we may feel it will sweep us right out to sea. In actuality, each time we are a little stronger on the other side of that wave, still standing, able to more fully live. We can allow ourselves to have bad days and feel our feelings today as it will give us strength tomorrow, not send us down a rabbit hole never to return. Every little step forward, every action you take to help yourself, however small, is a step in building your life in the new normal. One of the most important realizations is that it is not an offense to our loved ones for us to live, but rather the greatest honor to them. It is absolutely okay and advisable to value what and who is still here for you to love in the present. In spirit, those we’ve lost to this world, have merely transitioned and they help us navigate these stormy waters of grief.
Grief extends to other life transitions such as divorce, job loss, bankruptcy and a number of other life challenges. We have a vision of how life should be. We grieve when that vision is broken, and in some cases mangled, only to be reborn in a different form. In these situations, we also run through the 5 stages of grief: anger, bargaining, denial, depression and acceptance. The bitter v. better path is before us and our growth depends on us moving forward and ultimately accepting reality and allowing many gifts that spring forth from change.
Kim Perone is a Success, Life Transition & Spiritual Coach who works with clients 1:1 and offers programs and retreats at The Center for Clarity, Compassion & Contentment. She can be reached at [email protected] and (518) 301-3593 for more information.