Life has a way of teaching us lessons which ultimately shape not only who we are, but who we become.
Coping with a loss can take you through many different emotions. It may be the loss of a relationship, the death of a loved one, or a disappointment.
Life happens to us all. You lose someone or something dear to you. Things change. A delay prevents you from accomplishing your goal, or something happens to cause you to adapt to an unexpected reality.
I recently lost both a close friend and my mother. These experiences have impacted my life forever, and I still have moments where I am in disbelief of being without my dear friend and my mother.
Anytime you lose a loved one, the disappointment of them leaving you is hard to swallow, and you wish you could only do something to bring them back. My life had changed and there was nothing I could do about it. My reality now is to learn to cope with the loss and trust that God had prepared me to handle the unexpected.
Since your life experiences have shaped the person you have become today, you may handle a loss differently from others. I want to encourage you and share some things that have helped me deal with the losses in my life.
Deal or No Deal?
The choice is yours how you choose to cope with loss, but just know that Jesus is rooting for you to choose “Deal!”. God will help you through every one of the phases below – like He did for me:
The “Reality of Loss” Process
Allow yourself the freedom to grieve.
Processing the reality of the loss is the first step to help you move on with your life in the midst of the hurt or pain. For me, mentally and emotionally, I had to accept that someone I loved, cherished, and valued was no longer here with me. This was the case for both my friend and my mom. And not to sound like one was more important than the other, but especially in losing my mom – the reality was I could no longer touch her, feel her, hug her, kiss her, see her, or call her.
In her last months, I remember laying on the bed with her and rubbing her feet, or how she would just sit up in bed leaning on my shoulder because she was tired of laying down. I knew the inevitable was coming one day, but the reality was still a hard pill to swallow once she was gone.
The truth is you will never fully grieve a loved one because that person is always in your heart and in your memories. Allow the good times and beautiful experiences you shared together serve as positive reminders for you. It is a process.
Cherish the memories
Moments come and go. Life is short and unexpected things happen. Every moment you share with others should never be taken for granted. You never know when will be the last time you will see your friend, your spouse, your sister or brother, your co-worker or child.
The best way to deal with a loss or disappointment is to recognize that each second, each minute and each day counts! The memories you create and share is how you make it through a loss.
I often find myself thinking of the way my friend made me laugh. She was a character and the life of the party. Her spirit was contagious and her soft gentle voice comforted me. I cherish every memory I had with her and my random thoughts tend to always start with a tear, but end with a smile on my face.
In disappointment, such as a loss of a job or relationship, it’s good to know you gave it your best and wouldn’t change anything if you had to do it again. If you have breath in your body, time gives you an opportunity to try again. If you are no longer talking to your friend or family member, you still have time to make it right – time to make better moments and memories.
Surround Yourself with Comforting People
Having a support system is important to your ongoing journey as the days, weeks and months go on after a loss. Allow those who are concerned about you to care for you. Words of comfort and hope after a loss will acknowledge what you are experiencing.
Many want you to know they are there for you. An occasional text, phone call, or visit is common soon after the loss, but will generally slow down. The close family and friends who love you will still be there to support you. Some will know what to say, and others just want to be there for you. Take comfort in this and know that if they don’t reach out to you, they are praying for you and thinking about you.
Even with divorce, grieving a long-term relationship creates emotions similar to a death, and one experiencing this type of loss should go through these steps as well. Your hopes and dreams of the past are no more. But, certainly, having supportive and comforting people in your life will help tremendously with your coping process. As you heal, you will hope and dream again.
Lean on Jesus
God wants you whole and complete, mentally and emotionally, so be sure to spend some alone time to reflect, relax and take care of yourself.
When you are all alone and no one is answering the phone, you still have someone to talk to who sees your tears and hears your cries. His comfort is like no other comfort you’ll experience. Jesus will give you a peace that you won’t understand.
Whether your loss was expected or unexpected, the pain is the same. Let Him heal that hole in your heart, then you will see a strength in you that only God can get the credit for. Lean on Him entirely for everything you need during this time.
So, What’s the Play Call?
There is hope for you. The process of letting go may seem unbearable, hurtful or disappointing, but know that it will get better. You will think often of the person who left you, you will recap how you could’ve done things differently. But, if you process the reality of the loss, cherish the memories, and surround yourself with comforting people and lean on Jesus – you will get through it!
Since life impacts the lessons you learn, and the person you become, let’s be intentional on letting life show you how to view the outcome in a way that you can successfully DEAL.