So often we talk about loss when someone we love passes away and leaves us. Of course we do. After all, experiencing any kind of loss can be heart wrenching and life changing. It can rock us to our core. But is there another side to this? A piece that we’re possibly missing?
At the age of 49, the time in my life that I always simply expected to be living the wonderful life my husband and I created for our family, I found myself joining a club that I never wanted to be part of - the widow’s club. When you are chosen to be part of this club, the membership fee feels like the taking of your soul. There are no perks or pluses, benefits or bonuses, just pain. No one joins willingly.
In 2018, my beautiful husband of 23 years, lost his battle with ALS. We celebrated his 53rd birthday and three days later he was called to heaven. He left behind our four amazing boys that he adored. He was their provider, protector and playmate. He taught them manners, commitment and honesty. He was the truest example of kindness. His standards were high and his love knew no limits. So much loss in that last breath.
Loss comes in so many forms. Losing a partner, family member or friend. A divorce after years of marriage. The end of a career. Perhaps the loss of yourself. No matter the form, loss equals pain.
So that’s it? Enduring pain? To my surprise, actually no. What I have discovered to be true for me, is with loss, there is much that can been found. You may gasp at such a thought - the idea that there could possibly be something gained from loss. It may initially feel uncomfortable to adopt such a concept. I get it but I ask you to challenge that thought. Take a moment and think about your loss as a whole. Not just the part about your precious loved one that has been taken from your life, or the end of your twenty year marriage. Think about the unabbreviated experience. The entire journey. What have you found along the way? Really think about it. I’ll share some of the treasures I have collected as I courageously embrace it all:
Joy in even the smallest things as I now fully comprehend how fragile life is and I refuse to take any of it for granted.
A reserve of strength I could tap into - I had no idea!
Kindness and love in so many people - so many amazing people in this world and right here in my own community...so blessed
The will to move through fear and come out the other side - I am so grateful to know this about myself.
The ability to handle devastation with a certain amount of grace and even a sense of humor when appropriate. Who knew.
The power to see myself not as a victim, but a warrior.
Listen, I’m in no way declaring that in any way this is an even exchange or a close comparison for losing a loved one, ending a marriage or the termination of a career. But, after the dust has settled and time has passed, if you look real hard and shift your perspective just a little bit, you too may find that along with the loss, some things are actually found.