Dealing with Losses

I don’t think there’s ever an easy way to deal with loss. Whether it’s in our business or personal life, loss is something we really take notice of. With the experience of loss often comes a sense of being defeated. A defeat of time. A defeat for all the things we had hoped to do but never got the chance to, and on its heels like a moping child, is regret.

We all live in a world where losses are not only inevitable, but a daily occurrence. Recently, I lost a friend who had struggled ever since I’d known her. She came into one of my healing workshops 7 years ago and I helped champion her through a first ever heart and liver transplant surgery (simultaneous). She was like a sister or daughter to me, though she wasn’t much younger. Her name was Jessica Stewart. At one point she even had a testimonial on my site. A bright light in this world winked out, and the sting of her departure is still with me.

Another friend left us the same week as Jessica, a Vietnam Veteran, a man who also appeared at one of my earlier workshops and whom I had a great deal of affection for. His name was Roger. The poignancy of his leaving us all behind is also still with me. I know that people (and even things) come into our lives in order to teach us invaluable lessons about ourselves.

The question remains: how do you deal with loss? The only answer that makes sense in my mind is one conscious breath at a time. Allowing the deep felt sense of pain to emerge full in my awareness brings up intense sensation and emotion. But as I allow it to be there I notice that after a little while it loses its power. A deeper, more fundamental aspect of my self, knows that everything is okay as it is, that nothing needs to be changed or different. I’m grieving for myself, not really for the other person or thing. The other person is wherever they need to be.

When my mother died in 2010 I felt the loss at such a primal level–it was gut wrenching. And at the same time, I knew she was okay. I was the one who had to live on, to live my life in a way that would show her skill in care-taking for me, that would display the sort of individual she raised the world to know of. So each day is a recommitment to the values I’ve found that work well for me and that benefit the world from what I can tell. My friend, Jessica Stewart, taught me how to stop complaining about life. My friend Roger showed me a depth of compassion that also exists within me. They taught by their examples.

So though selfishly I will miss all these great people in my everyday waking life, I know that their examples and their lessons live on in me to share with the world I come in contact with. Knowing this is how I deal with losses.

How do you deal with losses? I’d love to hear from you.

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4 years ago

My thoughts after reading your blog post.
On loss:
Loss is always with us. As soon as we meet someone, the meeting is over. Or at least the part of it we have experienced is over. As soon as we speak, our words are gone. Everything is going away, all the time. It is overwhelming to experience the full preciousness of each moment
I have a hard time dwelling in the constant reality of loss—and it is a constant reality. Instead, I want to construct a reality that appears to have some elements of constancy. This constructed reality is an illusion. And so when loss appears, I am forced to confront the illusion I have created.
On some level, I thought that person (who has died) would be part of my life always—not part of my memory, but a living, breathing person that would continue to show up in my life, in the flesh.
Loss is an opportunity to confront my illusions. In the story of my life I was telling myself, I would continue to experience this person. In reality, loss tells me my story was not true. As my illusions drop away, I get the benefit of living a life that is more “real.” I may prefer my illusions to reality, but it is growthful and maturing to live a life of reality rather than a life of illusion. That doesn’t mean I will always like it. When I adjust the “nicer” story I was telling myself about life to a story that is more true, it hurts.
I used to fight this adjustment more, trying to hold onto my illusions. “Life shouldn’t be this way! It should reflect my version of reality!” I thought my illusions were “better” than what life was offering and I didn’t want to accept life on its own terms.. As time goes on, I fight my illusions less. Fighting less doesn’t diminish the pain of loss but the grieving process, a process of accepting what life has to offer on the terms that life is offering it, is allowed to take place with less interruption.

Scott Marmorstein
Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. You have a wonderful perspective!

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