Finding Hope After a Loss

by Mary Jane Hurley Brant

Have you lost someone so special you feel you can never be happy again?   I ask this question because sooner or later we will all be hit with a loss we think we cannot bear. No one escapes it.

Consider the recent death of Senator Ted Kennedy. During his life he looked grief and personal tragedy in the eye many times. The Senator, as other giants before him, will be missed. His family, as all families, will have to wrap themselves around their monumental loss, cling together, and go forward. They and we know that no one can ever take the place of the beloved deceased person.

As humans, we wonder if we can ever overcome the pain and loss we feel. We doubt we can go on and find hope again. But we can and these are my suggestions to help.

First, make the decision to live which means you get out of bed every day and put your feet down on the floor. Your life is a gift even if you don’t feel that way right now. Be grateful for your life, even the sad parts, for pain opens the heart more fully. Also, others who love and depend on you need you there physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Second, allow yourself time to grieve your loss every day – not every single moment, mind you – but actively by taking a walk and meditating on your specific loss, lighting a candle with your loss in mind, having a cry. Also, try writing your longings in a private journal; your expressed feelings are crucial to making it through your dark night of the soul. Consider doing something for someone else like bringing an elderly relative or neighbor a pot of soup or a delicious treat. Maybe take a lonelier person to church, temple or synagogue. And if you have children or grandchildren … oh, the joy to hug them. If you have a mate or a friend … turn toward them, not against them.

Third, pray for the grace and courage to accept your now life. You will probably go through the stages of grief and loss (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) more than once, but remember to reflect more on your many present blessings and less so on your past sorrows. I know it’s hard but you can do it, you really can.

Dear Friends, there is an appointed time for everything and we must surrender to it. “A time for every purpose under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant…a time to heal…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

Yes, there is a time to hope again and this is the time, the time to Make Every Day Matter

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP is a psychotherapist and grief and hope specialist. She is author of  “When Every Day Matters: A Mother’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life, Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 1, 2008; http://WhenEveryDayMatters.com

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