By Tracy Lee
Special to the Sun
Loss changes your perspective, tolerance, and opinions on many things. In short, it changes your life because it changes you.
By far, the worst loss is the loss of your child. This loss is so debilitating that parents may never overcome the anguish thrust upon them. It may even be that grandparents are unable to recover from this loss. The loss of a child is beyond heartbreaking; it is soul breaking. It is unnatural, out of order, and the most challenging loss from which to recover.
Death from brutality is painfully close to the loss of a child. It is death that is uncalled for, unfair, and impossible to understand. A person who brutally takes the life of another should be taken from society. Should you suffer the double hit of brutal loss upon your child, your grief may rob you of your will to live, as well as, your ability to function at your standard capacity.
On the other hand, these types of loss may keenly fine-tune your intolerance for all things mediocre, shallow, or superficial. These types of loss, after the initial onslaught of grief, confusion, and anger can acutely focus and prioritize matters of significance from the inconsequential in nanoseconds.
The loss of any significant loved one changes the world within which we function. As a survivor, you must adjust and bear the consequences of life without your loved one near you. Their influence, love, and contributions to your life are gone, and you no longer enjoy the convenience of contact, or reliance, with them. You may now need to develop new talents, skills, friendships, and abilities. These changes may cause you discomfort, annoyance, and even anger. These are painful feelings to overcome because they are usually followed with guilt. Stacking discomfort, annoyance, anger, and guilt on top of extreme sorrow makes your recovery even more elusive.
What then does one do to recover from such debilitating grief? As a certified grief counselor, I could list a multitude of suggestions written by highly educated doctors, counselors, and psychologists. However, as a surviving grandmother trying to recover from the recent loss of my grandson, my list and advice are slightly different than they were a year ago. I have suffered undeniable heartache over his loss, and immense pain watching my daughter fight her way back from the depths of her anguish. Even my tiny grandchildren have suffered the ravages of grief as they have experienced the tragic loss of their baby brother. His loss has changed our lives because it has changed us.
As I have traveled this inexpressible sea of anguish, I have found that suggestions made through educated hypothesis have been somewhat ineffectual. What has brought me the most significant relief and recovery are those things that have touched my soul. Where words are inadequate, a gentle touch of the hand, or expressive eyes glancing into my own, deliver empathy rather than sympathy. Spiritual experiences from a power beyond my understanding have reached my sufferings and replaced them with peace and comfort. For these things, I am grateful.
My new list of recovery suggestions based on the experience of significant loss are these:
1. Take care of your spiritual needs because love is a spiritual gift.
2. If you believe in a higher being, communicate openly and honestly with him or her. If you believe in the forces of the universe or nature, mediate and invite peace to return to you.
3. Spend time with the people you love, even if that time is spent in silence. You need the support of their love to heal your soul.
4. Ask people to pray or meditate for you, and be grateful for their willingness to supplicate on your behalf.
5. Believe that recovery will one day be yours and actively seek it without ceasing.
6. Accept grief as proof that you loved someone so deeply that life without them is more painful than life with them ever was.
7. When you think things are improving be prepared for bad days to hit you square in the face. Realize that you are having better days, once in a while, and appreciate them.
8. Understand that recovery takes time. The depth of your love didn’t develop overnight; neither will its recovery.
9. Be grateful for the gift of love and share it with those who remain near and dear to you.
10. Rely on your spiritual nature to guide and direct you through the anguish that will haunt you.
11. Determine, direct, and control the outcome of your recovery by humbly accepting and exercising the spiritual gifts that are graciously distilled upon you.
12. Accept that life has changed and that it will never be the same. If you let it, grief can turn your life from warmth and love to bitterness and cold. You are the gatekeeper here; you must determine the direction of your life.
Loss has changed my perspective, tolerance, and opinions on many things. In short, it has changed my life because it has changed me. I pray that through the ravages of grief, you will recognize your strength, develop and exercise your spiritual power and that one day soon, you will find your way back to peace.