We humans tend to have a pretty hard time with death and loss. Whether it’s our beloved, a job, our family home, or a pet we find ourselves shocked and grieving.
We wish there was no such thing as death; in fact, here in the Western world, we’re labeled a “death-denying” society. We ask, “Why?!” Perhaps a more curious question to ask would be “Why Not?” I have yet to know an adult who has not experienced a loss of some sort. Why do we feel exempt?
Everyone and everything dies. There is much to grieve.
Now, I’m not saying that the white waters of grief are calm, easygoing, carefree. Heck no!! Grief is anything but! Imagine holding on to a raft, racing down class 5 whitewaters – the fastest, most raging out there. You’re holding on to dear life! You don’t know whether your raft is going to make it, and if it does, will you still be in it!
I get it. I’ve been knocked to my knees over death. But I also have found something surprising on the other side. Dr. Agrios, a business breakthrough specialist calls this time, “life’s rejuvenation period… This is your Autumn. Even the most successful crops pass through autumn.”
Once the crop dies out, the farmers come along to clean up and clear out. They get rid of the dead branches, rake away the rotten leftovers, and carefully prune the branches. As Dr. Agrios says, “Why keep a dying branch? Why drain vital resources from the rest of the tree?”
When a loved one dies, we want to hold on tightly to the past, to the traditions, to things wishing that somehow he or she will return. We worry that if we let go, we are dishonoring our beloved, or casting their memory aside with all the rest. We become exhausted carrying a load that no longer serves us. We don’t eat well and sleep even worse. Life feels out of control.
But we DO have control. Every decision we make determines the direction of our life. After my brother died, and my family of origin declared that they were “done with me,” I grieved hard! There were so very many losses all wrapped up in that period of my life. I couldn’t work for almost two years. It wasn’t until I was able to let go of fairytale memories and beliefs and prune away the energy-draining branches of my family that new possibilities began to emerge.
They say hindsight is 20-20. I never could have imagined loving life the way I do. Life isn’t all a bed of roses, but it sure is better than it was for those two years.
We can never run from death and grief successfully. How do you deal with loss?