Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Handle Loss

The majority of singles have arrived at the unmarried state through two avenues in life. One, we're divorced or, two, we've had a mate that passed away. Whatever unfortunate avenue you were forced to walk, dealing with loss can be a huge challenge as a single person.

Each instance of loss we experience carries disappointment, but some instances of loss carry great pain and suffering. Loss affects our lives deeply. It steals our joy, ruins our hope, and brings despondency to our hearts. In dealing with the pain, we can lose part of ourselves in the process as well. We can acquire a distaste for everything in life. The things we once enjoyed become tedious or boring, or they bring memories of times we shared with the person who is no longer there....and it just plain hurts.

Loss is simply defined as something or someone we once possessed or knew that is no longer ours. Everyone relates to the loss of "things." We can lose tangible possessions through accident, misplacement, thievery, or it just don't work anymore! Those kind of losses are often superficial and replaceable simply by buying another.

However, the losses that affect us most are those that are relationships. Sometimes friends fade out of our lives, and others come across our path to fill the void. However, losses in our lives that are irreplaceable hurt the most. They are those we dearly love - a parent, sibling, boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. In those type of losses, we have the potential of losing part of ourselves in the process while we struggle to deal with the pain.

What helps us through loss? Often it takes others intervening in our lives during the process of grieving who come to comfort and encourage us through empathy and understanding. Perhaps they've been where you are now, and can say tenderly - been there, done that...I understand.

Other times it just takes time. Does time heal everything? I think eventually it does, but I often think not fast enough. We are all wired differently. Some individuals are able to bounce back in a short amount of time, others grieve for years.

Even though we all experience loss in our lives, we can gain from it as well through the process of restoration. A new friend, a new outlook, a new inspiration to spur us on in life. I truly believe that in the hour of our greatest losses, our greatest achievements can be born as well. In addition, our own personal losses give us empathy in the future for others. We come to a place where we can weep with those who weep and ultimately offer the same comfort we ourselves received.

So if you are single and hurting from loss, I encourage you to take heart. Whether you have lost a spouse through divorce or death, you have the right to take the time to grieve and feel the way you do. For some of us it takes a longer walk through that dark tunnel to find the light at the end of our pain. From living through my experiences of loss, I can honestly assure you that you will eventually arrive to a place of healing.