I came across this wise information in Word for Today and with the loss of my mother last October this really resonated with me.
Loss is inevitable
Inevitably, we and our loved ones will experience life’s losses: illness, ageing, death, divorce, disability, loss of independence, unemployment, financial reversals, etc.
Today’s culture prepares us for gain, but not for loss; to dance, but not to mourn. Major losses throw us into unchartered territory. So, we need to understand the dynamics of our loss in order to help us through it and back to living again.
Life-changing loss begins with bereavement – the agony of feeling that something or someone indispensable to us has been ripped away, leaving us feeling robbed.
Then comes grief – searing emotions of overwhelming sorrow that are often accompanied by anger, distress, confusion, and helplessness.
Next, we move into the mourning stage – and begin to express our grief and loss. This is the ‘hard work’ stage of tears, memories, and heartrending spasms of weeping that shake us to our very core. We feel guilt and remorse over what we have said or done or not said or done.
And our heartache gives those around us opportunity to respond, offering the comfort and reassurance we need to begin healing. So, take the time you need to do the work of mourning your losses.
The four stages of loss
Researchers at the Colorado Institute of Grief offer us this helpful four-stage path to recovery.
Stage one – Shock. Our initial response is one of denial and disbelief. ‘I can’t believe this is happening…it’s not real!’ There is a numbing of our senses, a God-designed natural ‘anaesthesia’ that buffers the early blow and allows us time to gather our coping mechanisms.
Stage two – Protest. We feel anger and resentment against God, yet we feel guilty for blaming Him. We may blame ourselves, the doctors, the patient, and question God’s love and faithfulness – even bargaining with Him. ‘If You will just do a miracle and bring them back, I will…’
Stage three – Disorganisation. Everything comes apart at the seams. The lifestyle we knew and loved unravels. The dreams we cherished evaporate. We feel hopeless, powerless, lost in a strange, empty universe.
Secondary losses may loom: financial insecurity, social dislocation, depression, loss of concentration, etc. We’re convinced that life will never be normal again. We survive moment to moment, afraid to anticipate the road ahead.
Stage four – Reorganisation. Unrelenting grief gives way to waves of sadness varying in frequency and intensity. We begin to accept and accommodate our loss. The energy we expended on grief work becomes available again, enabling us to adjust to the demands and opportunities of our new lifestyle.
Slowly we re-emerge and take hold of the reins again. The process will take many months, and full recovery even years.
But there will be ‘a time to heal…build up…laugh…and …dance…again!’
We can recover and live again
If you go through the grieving process life does pick up again. We will all go through loss in our lives that is a certainty but it’s how we process the loss which is key. Mental Resilience is great but in times like these we need to go through these stages one by one until we come out the other side.
There are no shortcuts to this it’s a process. But if we go through this process stage by stage, we can live a productive life again even with the loss of loved ones. We will smile again, we will laugh again, we will find hope again.
Harrison Ford never gave up
I came across this brief description of Harrison Ford who never gave up on his dream until he got the breakthrough which catapulted him to fame and fortune. This again resonated with me because persistence is something I have demonstrated all my life and has led me to the amazing life I am now living.
While many people know Harrison Ford for his blockbuster roles in films that are now part of American culture and history, he was also considered a personal and professional failure at several times in his life.
Clearly, he’s one of the most famous people to have ever worked in the movie business, commanding top-dollar for his performances. But his life wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows.
Born in 1942 in Chicago, both of Ford’s parents had a connection to the entertainment industry. His father was a former actor and his mother a former radio actress. It seemed as though acting was in his blood.
After graduating from college in Wisconsin, at the age of 22-years old, Ford headed to Los Angeles to try his hand in voice-overs. He failed to secure that job but ended up staying in the area.
It took Ford two years of working odd jobs and small-time bits before he landed his first uncredited role as a bellhop in the movie, Dead Heat on a Merry-Go Round, in 1964 at the age of 24-years old.
However, studio execs were rough on young Ford, telling him that “he would never make it in this business.”
But Ford refused to give up. It took him until 1973, 9 years later, when he landed his breakthrough role in George Lucas’s film, American Graffiti.
It was that role, and his relationship with Lucas, that would help catapult him into stardom. Lucas later cast Ford in Star Wars and the Indian Jones series.
Thoughts for the week
- Have you experienced loss – perhaps the loss of a marriage, the loss of a loved one, the loss of health, or the loss of financial security?
- This week have a look back on the 4 stages of loss and see where you are in the process.
- It is comforting to know that there is a process and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- The process can take 2 years or even longer so be patient and be kind to yourself.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.