LOSS and GRIEF have as many forms as life has faces. Sudden loss brings shock. Long, drawn-out loss brings exhaustion. Loss changes the expectations of daily life. It brings disbelief and despair.
Divorce, a wayward child, loss of a job, and the finality of death – these events are earthquakes. They upend our expectations of how our life should be.
Grieving may be open and vocal. It may be silent and withdrawn. It always hurts.
Losing a child, whether by separation or death, is a cliff dropping off right before us. Losing a spouse or a close friend is like calling into a dark, empty well. When we lose a parent, we face our own, naked defenselessness.
Moving on after a loss to death feels ugly, unfair, like a betrayal of the one we loved. The grief is unbearable, but it is all we have of the one we love. We suffer, and it seems right that we should suffer.
The time does come when we cannot go on living in constant pain. We need to find other ways to fill the emptiness. We need new routines, new roles, and new interactions. We need to redirect our energy to living in the here and now. In some cases we can share the gifts that once stayed between us and those we lost. We need to make use of our memories and our growth, to make them count in today’s world.
When that happens, the losses become part of our strength. We become different and better people for our experiences, the good and the bad. We learn to tap into our greater empathy and understanding for ourselves and for others.
- A Grief Observed, by C. S. Lewis
- Beginnings, a Book for Widows, by Betty J. Wylie
- Beyond the Ridge, by Paul Goble (for children)
- Dying with Dignity Canada, https://www.dyingwithdignity.ca/
- Healing After Loss, by Martha Whitmore Hickman
- How to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies, by Therese Rando
- Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl
- On Death and Dying, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
- The Empty Bed, by Susan Wallbank
- The Grief Recovery Handbook, by John W. James & Russell Friedman
- When Bad Things Happen to Good People, by Harold Kushner
- Who Dies?, by Stephen and Ondrea Levine