Every now and then, Wham! Life hits you right between the eyes with something so unexpected and shocking… it’s so hard to comprehend how something so horrific could happen to you. It’s not like you’re a bad person, you’ve done nothing to serve this, you’re a good person, and it’s not like it’s the first time. But, now? Really?
You’re first thought is that this will be impossible to survive, and you’re in so much pain, it’s as though your heart is bleeding, and you wouldn’t be surprised if it just stopped beating altogether. And if it did, at least this pain will have ended.
It could be that someone you love has passed on, you could be suffering from a heart broken by someone you loved dearly, or you may have suffered falling victim to some other unforeseen incident. Nonetheless, here you are in possibly one of your deepest, darkest moments, and you’re feeling bad, lost, isolated, and alone.
What are you going to do about it?
You basically only have two choices, to allow this life event to overtake you, to sink into depression’s bottomless pit, or to let this thing flow over you, get back behind the wheel and continue to live your life, taking back your control, expanding your mastery.
Grieve? Absolutely, let it out. Give yourself time to honor this event emotionally, then pull yourself together, and get back to the business of life.
You never know what life is going to throw at you, when, where, or to what extent. I mean, I’ve been fortunate to be living a long, eventful life, while I had to lay to rest a 20-year-old son. I’ve loved and lost, have known all kinds of betrayal, and for some reason, my life keeps going on. I’m not saying my life is better in any way than anyone else’s. In some ways, it doesn’t make any sense to me at all; why God would take Aaron and not me. But I owe it to Him, to keep on keeping on, honoring each precious moment that He gives me. So, I pick myself up, dust off the ashes, and keep moving.
When you’ve been hit by the loss of a loved one, you are going to experience the pain of loss, and this pain can be overwhelming. There is no doubt, your grieving will take time, and there is no limit on the time that will be necessary for you to grieve, only that you must, and only you will know how long it will take; most likely, not at the outset, but closer to the time when you begin to see the light at the end of grief’s tunnel.
Be aware that your emotions will run the gamut; everything from the initial state of shock, an isolated numbness and a foreboding fear, to anxiety, anger, and broken heartedness, just to name a few. All these feelings are part of the grieving process and are the gateway to the other side of grief. It is how we honor those who are lost, their impact on our life, while we heal the best we can, and find a way to go on. If you are fortunate enough to have someone who has offered their shoulder to lean on, please do. Sometimes people are brought to us, to be there for us in our hour of need. These are the unsung angels, respect them and lean into them, when you need to or when you can.
Another curve ball of life could find you face to face with a life-threatening disease for you or someone whom you may love dearly. This, too, can be a tragic, traumatic life event, that can send you reeling in fear and helplessness as your life spins out of control, and even denying any truth of the matter, until getting a grasp on the painful reality of it all. Denial can take many forms, and in fact, I have known people who have refused to accept any such diagnosis, and in this respect, the denial of the existence of the fatal illness actually led them to full recovery. It’s somewhat of a tightrope to walk, one the one side, you need to accept the severity of the situation you are facing, on the other, you need to take dominion of what ails you if you hope to conquer it. Either way, you will need to search deep within yourself as well as reach out to your network, your support system which has been attracted to you just for this challenging time.
And if you’re facing the tragic end of a romantic relationship, especially if you’ve been together for many years and may have children involved, it can definitely throw you for a loop. Even if you’ve only been together for a short while and there are no kids involved, you can still find yourself suffering traumatic challenges in finding ways to cope with the loss. Just like any other kind of challenge, you find yourself facing fear. Fear of what is happening, fear of wondering how this ending is going to play out, and fear about how this will affect your future. You’re likely to find yourself struggling with feelings of betrayal and abandonment issues. All this is not restricted only to romantic relationships, but could extend into other relationships as well, including family, friends, and co-workers.
Again, you have three things necessary to deal with these – or any kind of – unexpected crisis or life event.
1: Time. Time to work it out in your head and your heart.
2: You. All the tools and equipment that you need have been placed safely inside you, safely stored away, waiting for you to access them in your time of need.
3: Others. You will notice others who have been attracted to you in your life to be there at the right time and place. Please do not fail to keep an eye open for the unsung angels who have been brought into your life for just this moment in time. Reach out to them.
And have faith that all things come together for good, for you, in the end; if only you can make it to the other side. From this new vantage point, you will be able to see the blessing that was hidden from your view, while you were struggling with your challenge.