Solo Survivor


This past year, so many of us have lost so much. We have lost jobs, friends and family. We have lost time with those we love that can never be recaptured. It was a tough year. A lot of us were looking forward to a better, brighter year, but for some, it has been a continuation of last year.

In the past 6 months, I have lost 3 family members – I know I am of the age where this will happen more frequently, but it still leaves me reeling and it does not make it easier.

Loss is not just experienced when someone dies. It could be they have moved away, or the friendship has waned. You may have lost a job, or your home or your sense of belonging. You may have lost a beloved pet, your close and sometimes only companion.

I learned a long time ago, the importance of letting those in my life know how I feel about them. Life can change in the blink of an eye and I don’t want to have regrets. I am so glad I reconciled with my mom before she died. Our relationship was the best it had ever been. She knew I loved her right up to the end.

Grief does not have rules or a time table. It will hit you at odd times unexpectedly. Sometimes the depth of it takes your breath away. You hear a song and find yourself smiling – laughing even – with the memories it prompts.  You hear a hymn and the tears flow because it was your loved ones favorite and it makes you miss them even more.

You see something and the memories flood back. This happens for me every time I eat watermelon. It makes me smile as I remember my older brother tossing half moon rinds into the lake singing ’My boomerang won’t come back’. Roses remind me of my mum – she always planted some wherever she lived.

I am learning that we need to make space for our grief. To grieve well, means I do not ignore the pain or avoid the emotions the pain prompts. We need to acknowledge the heartache but resist the temptation to set up camp there. Crying is healthy, so is laughing. I have had the tendency to push down my grief, scared that it will overwhelm me. But now I am learning how to grieve well – acknowledge the pain, emotions; make space for them in my day. I set aside time at the end of my day, light a candle and am just still. I allow the pain to come. Some days i cannot because I feel so  raw so I busy myself.

Nevertheless, i am getting better at acknowledging the pain and the gapping hole my loved ones have left behind.

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