In one moment, all that we hold dear and cherish is shattered, never to be the same. We are left floundering in a pit of uncertainty. We drown as wave after wave of unknown and unexpected emotions wash over us. In that moment, we cannot see the path forward; there is no light shining for us that guides us through this. We have to rely on ourselves and we are unequipped.
Questions of an immense nature begin to form in our minds, and we are at a loss at how to answer them. We question the very essence of who we are. Layer upon layer of false assumptions are stripped to the bone. We are concerned with how we feel and about how our world is shattered.
Yet we can only move forward and never go back. Yet do we rise from the ashes of our loss, starting a new and stronger life that shines brighter than before? Or do we remain in the ashes, desperately sifting through them in an attempt to regain a hold upon our old life?
We may all experience similar emotions that create a bond between us. If we think about our own experience of loss, it might have started with a state of numbness, disbelief and maybe even shock. We doubted what we had heard and kept expecting someone to come and tell it was all a sick joke. Our minds needed time to accept the news, whether this was a second, hour, day or more. This feeling gradually wore off to leave us with a hollow sense that it was not a joke and the harsh understanding that everything had changed in one instant and we had to play catch-up to this. Life as we knew it was over.
Despite experiencing similar emotions, our journeys through loss are unique. It is a journey of unknown time, unknown emotions and unknown experiences for us all. There is no one way or one emotion that we all have to experience. Loss is a very personal thing. There is no right or wrong way to experience it, there is just the experience. Accepting this can free us; allow us to do things our way, to trust that we know what is best for ourselves. It can transform loss into an exhilarating but scary adventure as we explore parts of ourselves that we never knew, despite living with them for years.
The intense emotions that loss stirs within us do not destroy unless we let them. We do possess the ability to continue on. But what is recovering? Is it merely learning to survive our loss? Or is recovering using our loss to transform our lives into something more, something that we have always dreamed it of being?
Tabitha Jayne 2011