Shouldn’t You Be Over This By NOW?

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We’re all missing someone.

Michelle sat across the table from me, turning her chicken salad over and over with her fork.
“I should be over this by now,” she sighed.

Michelle’s mother had passed away four months earlier. They had seen each other almost every day for a decade. They talked about everything. Her mom’s death left a gaping hole in Michelle’s life and heart.

“She’s always been there. Until she passed, you had never lived a day without her,” I said. “Michelle, you’re not going to get over this.”

Michelle looked up from her plate and stared at me. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came. Her face began to crumple, and the tears began to fall.

When we lose someone (to death, divorce, moves, mental or physical illness, or relational distance) it’s impossible to get over them. That would be like saying they didn’t matter and their lives were of no real importance.

 

My Friend Bill

About 15 years ago, I got a call from my friend Bill. He was a college buddy and a groomsman in my wedding. We hadn’t seen each other for years, but we talked at least every couple of months. He was a master at staying in touch.

This phone call was different. “Gary, I’ve got leukemia, and it’s advanced. It doesn’t look good.”

I gripped the phone in silence. No words came.

“I know, man, I know,” Bill said. “That’s how I responded when they told me.”

Several months later, Bill was gone. He was barely 40. I still have a hard time believing it. I miss his voice, his sense of humor, and his encouragement. I sometimes close my eyes and try to remember his face.

Get over Bill? Nope. No way.

Relationships are the foundation of our lives. People matter so deeply.

 

People are Priceless

All of us are special. We are priceless beings of eternal value. When someone exits, they leave a hole. We can’t replace them. We can only grieve, and hopefully learn to appreciate them even more.

  • You never get over a person. You learn to adapt and adjust over time.
  • As you grieve well, the one you miss will naturally take his or her new place in your life.
  • If you look carefully, you’ll recognize them in your actions and hear their voice in your words.
  • Grief will become mixed with thanksgiving.
  • Slowly, the color will come back into life.

I learned so much from Bill, the most powerful thing being selfless service. Bill loved people and gave his life to those around him, especially those in need. I can honor him by living his legacy as part of my mission.

 

Grieve Well, Lean Forward, and Grow

How do we do this? Here are five suggestions:

1.   Appreciate what’s been lost.

2.   Feel the emotions involved (sadness, anger, confusion, relief, frustration, fear, anxiety, depression, etc.).

3.   Don’t go internal or isolate. Stay connected to people.

4.   Share the stories and memories.

5.   Don’t get in a hurry. Take your time.

Moving through the fog of loss is not a random, wandering journey (though it may feel that way).
Our hearts are seeking a new equilibrium. Recovery takes time. Lots of time.

Let the one you miss sink deeply into your life and heart. Honor them in the way you live. Let the memory of your time together bring smiles as well as tears.

Who are you missing today?

When Life Changes in an Instant

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Sudden loss is shocking. Like a missile out of the blue, it can devastate our world in an instant.

 

It happened so quickly

“It happened so quickly. One minute he seemed fine, and the next he was gone. It was all so sudden,” Connie said through her tears.

Matt had been mowing the lawn. He came inside, sat down in his recliner and feel asleep.

He never woke up.

Connie’s eyes said she was still in shock. She couldn’t wrap her mind around what had happened, much less her heart.

 

The unique challenges of sudden loss

Sudden death, loss, and trauma come with unique challenges.

  • You didn’t see it coming.
  • It took you by surprise.
  • There was no way you could prepare for it.
  • There was no final, “I love you.”
  • You didn’t get to say goodbye.

You feel unfinished. Stunned. Things were left unsaid and undone. You wonder “What if…” or “If only…”

Your heart is searching for solid rock in the midst of this free fall. What happened? Where did they go? How can this be? Why?

 

We want to say:

“You were just here. How could you be gone?”

 

Most of my losses have been sudden. Chances are, you’ve experienced an unexpected loss too. Be it sudden or anticipated, life is always gone in an instant. Trauma, abuse or other loss can obliterate our sense of security at a moment’s notice.

When life or security departs, the shock waves are immense.

There is no protection against this. When it hits, we are left to make sense of the rubble.

 

Be kind to yourself

You’ve been hit. Of course you’re stunned. Nothing is normal or routine right now.

Here are some things to remember:

  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Limit the expectations you place on yourself, or that others attempt to place on you.
  • Healing and recovery take time. Grief is a process that will not be hurried.
  • Look to your heart, and focus there. This is going to be a tough, unpredictable ride.
  • You will make it.

It is possible to provide security against other ills, but as far as death is concerned, we men live in a city without walls. – Epicurus

 

Adapted from Heartbroken: Healing from the Loss of a Spouse (Amazon Bestseller, Finalist USA Best Book Awards, Finalist National Indie Excellence Book Award)

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