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I have heard the following statement from more families than I can count. “I don’t know how I will live without _____ (fill in the blank).” For some it is mom and for others it is dad. Maybe it is daughter or son. For many it is the love of their life.
I am always amazed at the coping mechanisms that so many people possess. Many individuals do not think they are resilient enough or strong enough to cope with a significant loss. However, I have found in my journey in hospice that when I talk to most of these same individuals a year later, they are stronger and more resilient than they could have ever believed. Those who think they will never be able to get out of bed again – do. Those who can barely hold a conversation without crying, learn to laugh again. Those who are angry beyond belief, find peace. The old expression that “life goes on” sounds harsh but it is true and as “life goes on” the grieving learn to cope and learn to live again.
Grieving is a difficult process. There are no short cuts. There is not a right way or a wrong way to cope with a loss. If you are reading this and you or someone you know is grieving I want to remind you that you are not alone. Although, you may FEEL lonely – you are NOT alone. I want to encourage you to talk to others about your loss or consider participating in a grief support group. I have found that for many people the process of healing occurs through sharing it with others, especially when you share your grief with other individuals that have lived through what you are experiencing.
As I write this article it is almost the one year anniversary of the passing of my friend and Pastor, Cliff Williams. I think of him often. I find myself touching the necklace that he gave me for my fortieth birthday a lot. I find myself day dreaming a bit more about conversations that we shared. I even find myself
wishing I would have said things or done things a bit differently.
I have learned by working with others that are coping with a loss that all of this behavior is normal. However, when you are living it out – it doesn’t always feel normal or good. I recently was talking to a widow who had lost her husband a number of years ago. I asked her if she still missed him. She told me “I was married for sixty years to my husband. He was a loving man and a good provider.” She added, “I will always miss him. It is just more bearable as each day goes by. You find a way to find peace.” I know you will find peace too.