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Dealing with Loss

July 28, 2009

How do we deal with loss?  Does loss make you stronger?  Does loss teach us something about our selves, or about humanity, or about life?  Or does loss just leave you feeling empty?  When someone you love is experiencing loss, in it’s deepest most lonely form, what do you say to comfort them?  Is there anything that can comfort them?  Where do you draw the line between being supportive and being there for them, and stepping on their toes, or invading their privacy?  Is it worse to be too supportive and leave someone feeling like you are in their space, or to be not supportive enough and leave them feeling alone, or like you don’t care?

There are many different kinds of loss, and they affect each person differently.  Loss happens at different times in all of our lives.  How do you know what will be comforting or uplifting for each individual in your life that is dealing with loss?  What do you say to someone who has lost their job, their source of income?  What do you say when someone you love has ended a relationship with someone they love?   How do you comfort a friend whose beautiful baby has died unexpectedly?  What is there to say?  How do you deal with loss of faith?  Loss of hope?  What should I say to someone who feels all their dreams are crashing around them?  When all of these things are happening around you, how do you keep from getting sucked into the feelings of hopelessness and despair yourself?

I know that we can’t avoid loss.  It is change, and change is inevitable in all of our lives.  Some changes are good and exciting.  Some changes are difficult, or terrifying, or overwhelming.  Some changes in our lives are some of both.  The good with the bad.  The roses with the thorns.  But what about the changes that seem to be all thorns?  How do you deal with those?  And what do you say to someone who is in the middle of them?  Sometimes there is nothing to say.  Sometimes we just need to listen.  But how do you know if this is one of those times?  How do you know if there is something more that you could do to ease their pain, or make life easier, or bring a smile to their face?  What do you do when you feel you are at a loss?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Tamara Oborn permalink
    July 28, 2009 9:25 pm

    Love the new blog!

    I hide my emotions big time . . . at least the really deep and serious ones, not the surface ones that change frequently. I feel like I should be a bigger help when it comes to helping people deal with loss – cause I lost my father earlier than most, but I still can’t think of what to say when people ask me what helped the most. I really think it depends on someone’s specific personality and how they are dealing with it. I was actually bitter (without realizing it) for a long time and didn’t want anyone telling me they “understood” what I was going through. I prefered the silent support – notes and emails, text messages, so I didn’t have to face my emotions head on. I realized later, once I dealt with it properly, that people do understand and I needed to know I wasn’t alone. I needed time to sort through my own feelings and didn’t want to talk about it, and now I would talk about it all day long. I just cried alone alot for a long time. Some people need to talk it out immediately though to feel better.

    Not much help probably. But an interesting thing to think about and how I could deal with loss better than I have in the past.

  2. July 29, 2009 4:46 pm

    There are no situation that is all thorn with no rose. Although sometimes it’s a thorn bush with a single, teensy rose. And sometimes you have to wait for it, sitting there with sticks in your side and thorns in your thumbs until the bud finally appears.

    Excellent post, I has tears.


  3. July 29, 2009 4:46 pm

    …”is” no situation. I can write in one tense, I swears!


  4. Jen permalink
    July 30, 2009 10:27 am

    I think the lesson about loss is all about the benefits of waiting. Often it seems like the people around us are all happy and we’re supposed to be too. But our trials also benefit those around us. Sometimes difficult things that happen bring us wisdom, sometimes we get wisdom from being there for someone who is going through a loss. But everything ends in a loss. After all, we will all die one day. That’s part of the reality of this life. For those who believe in the next life, things will be different there. A lady I work with is 95 years old. Her husband died 30 years ago. She dresses to the 9s every day at work, would not be caught dead without make-up, or in PJs in the grocery store (see next blog topic). She attends the Elks Lodge monthly, she organizes an annual fashion show. She tells dirty jokes that would make a man blush! Whoo! She is something else! But all of her close friends and relatives are gone now. She’s blessing us with her presence now, but nothing in life is permanent. That’s just one of our lessons to deal with. For those who die young, those left behind miss them for ever. Sometimes it’s divorce. Sometimes divorce is a blessing, other times a curse. But sometimes we are faced with these choices, and other times they are just part of our histories, don’t have anything to do with us, but they often can teach us something. I noticed we don’t see the benefits until we have at least twenty years or so on the problem. But then again, this life is short compared to eternal life…

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