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Healing After Loss

The quote is taken from a little book of daily meditations entitled, “Healing After Loss.” Put in the survivor perspective, which is the one I write from, there it is. It fits. It also fits our Covid life.

I cannot speak of one without speaking of the other. I’ve talked to several survivors over the last several weeks. With our monthly meetings having gone virtual, some have opted out. “I don’t like Zoom.” Others may forget. Still others can talk about missing the hugs, the closeness of that hand grasping that other hand.

It’s beyond ironic that the very thing we need as human beings- hugs, human contact- has been taken from us. It has to be this way for our own lives; yet, we don’t have to like it. It reminds me of the reading at the end of our monthly SOS meetings: “I don’t like it. I don’t have to like it. What I do have to do is make a choice about my living. What I do want to do is accept it and go on living. The choice is mine.”

I’d going to recommend a book that I’ve found very interesting and comforting. Written by Barbara Mahaney, formerly a writer for The Chicago Tribune, “The Stillness of Winter” is a small book that focuses on December through February. She writes about things going on in nature, feelings that may stir our soul in the deepest, darkest, coldest months of the year.

She includes some recipes, some pages for musings, and some activities. Winter is hard on many of us. Sometimes I have to remind myself that my bulbs are doing their work under the cold, dark, hard ground. I think about March and April and green shoots sprouting up.

As new survivors, no matter what month our loved one dies, we’re in the “winter” of our grief. We are engulfed with darkness. We have very little energy. Our body moves as if our feet were planted deep in the snow. Winter is a time for us to slow down. Winter is a time for us to realize that, while spring will come, the work that needs to be done for spring happens now.

New survivors cannot imagine that spring will ever come for them. The deep loss and grief, the feeling of isolation, the overall darkness feels as if it will never lift. It won’t lift for a long time. You are not the same person you were “before”, and your house no longer feels the same either.

Since March of 2020, we have been faced with isolation, face masks, social distancing. We are not the same people we were before. Our house is different as well. Hope has come in the form of an inoculation. Hope comes for survivors in talking to other survivors, in reading about suicide, and in reading what other survivors have experienced.

If you can look at someone who is a year or even two beyond you in grief, that’s a hope that begins the stirrings of spring within us. Day-by-day, often hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute, we slog forward as we cry, feel guilt, feel immense emptiness, and loss.

Believe in the words of Albert Camus: “In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.”

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