Next Steps II

Last time I reflected on professional losses, today I address personal losses.

At the office – if you do indeed work in an office – you have a support group, some team members, a supervisor or such who commiserate with you when you don’t get the promotion, the client, the job. At home you maybe have a partner or spouse, or roommate who’ll pour you a glass or three of wine when you face loss. They’re there for hugs and an ear. Maybe, like me, you are alone and those cats and plants surrender to your moods.

Personal loss, like professional loss, is all relative. A friend just lost her husband of 16 years – the love of her life – unexpectedly: agonizing pain. A neighbor just lost her 12-year-old dog and constant companion: Pain.  A friend just fell in love only to be rejected: Pain. A friend’s house burned to the ground: Pain. A family member dies: Pain. A dear friend divorces her second husband: Pain.

Pain – another four-letter word – is relative to us, and only us. No one can say “I know how you feel.” No, actually he/she doesn’t know how you feel. You may empathize with me, him, her or them, but you can’t feel their feelings. You can’t experience their pain even if you’ve had similar experiences and no one knows how you feel either.

If tears were calories I’d be thin…so would you, probably. We fight the urge to throw the wine glass at the wall; we fight the anger of rejection, self-doubt and self-pity; we fight the “why me’s” of the situation. Who wrote those Fairy Tales anyway? Who writes those happy-ending scripts and novels. Are we all in denial? No, it’s just nice to escape into a dark movie theatre and come out feeling better, put a smile on your face; it’s a wonderful reprieve to cozy up to a good book and into someone else’s love, loss, happiness, sadness, etc.

Experiences we’ve had make us who we are right now. Everything we’ve heard, seen, read and been involved in molds our being. We change hourly because of what we’re learning through sound, sight, situations and senses.

When loss knocks us down, “they” – whoever “they” are – say that it takes time to heal. Thanks! How much time? How do I see the end of that “time” sequence? How do I deal with the first “time” phase and not want to jump out of a window? Stay in bed all day? Starve my bankrupt emotions? No one really has the answers, but call a friend and s/he’ll have oodles of advice for you, that I know.

My whining encumbers my healing, and yet, it seems only fair for me to do so. Whoever will listen is a captive, though maybe not wanting, audience member. Is it fair to them to be exposed to my ranting and whining? Yes, because they in turn will do the same when they need an ear and a hug – I hope.

If you don’t invite me to your dinner party, I’m okay with that, but if you won’t or don’t share your pain with me, then I feel slighted.

Connection makes the world go around. Thanks to social media, the internet and Skype, global – though virtual – hugs encompass us when we ask. When we have the courage to let others know we’re sad, weak, in denial, or in need of a hug, it makes us stronger. Do you set yourself up for rejection some time? Yes. I remember asking a dear friend if I could come over to get a hug, and he said “no.” The “no” brought me down, and yet, I admired his honesty, and I made it through the situation.

A friend is currently going through personal Hell. He needs space and personal time away from others. He needs to be free of friends’ needs and to focus on his healing. I hate it because I want him to need me, and he doesn’t right now. I honor that, as much as it pains me. His needs are getting met through family, while mine are sitting on the bleachers waiting for the end of the game so we can see the win. What’s a woman to do? Time, again.

Ask for what you need and hopefully you’ll get it. Your and my next steps are to move on. To be good to ourselves: be healthy in mind, body and soul. Time, ah, another four-letter word. It is not the events that shape your world; it’s your thought processes. You are your thoughts.

Loss is inevitable. What we do during it and after it makes us who we are. You don’t necessarily have to be strong all the time, but you do have to come out from the catacombs of grief and shove the door to tomorrow wide open.


Jana Stanfield

You think you’re the only one
Caught under clouds that block the sun
Life’s not easy that’s the breaks
Everyone of us still makes mistakes
Everybody walks through heartache
Everybody walks through pain
But still we search the sky above
For rainbows after rain

You are not alone
Look around and you’ll see
Someone like me
Looking your direction
We all need connection
As we stumble toward our dreams
You are not alone
Look around and you’ll see

Listen up ‘cuz here’s the deal…
Everybody feels the things we feel
Love and fear and gratefulness
Angry words we can’t forget
Everybody goes through bad times
Emotions black as night
But still we know the dawn is waiting
On the other side

You are not alone
Look around and you’ll see
Someone like me
Looking your direction
We all need connection
As we stumble toward our dreams
You are not alone
Look around and you’ll see

We all need a little help now and then
All it takes is the courage
To open our hearts and reach out our hands





1 Comment

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One response to “Next Steps II

  1. Thanks for this Dee. It really did help.


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