How to Deal with Loss

November 1, 2011

R.I.P. Speedy

Speedy, pictured left

The passing of life’s breath into stillstand is never an easy thing. We got home to discover our pet guinea pig, Speedy, had passed away. She was still warm so we knew it must have happened within the hour or so before our arrival. The kids are saddened as are we. Life’s preciousness is never more present than in the moments after someone we love passes away.

So how do we deal with loss? Mourn. Remember. Laugh through the tears. Acceptance comes once these steps have occurred, and not before.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross developed the five stages of grief that go something like this:

Denial.

Anger.

Bargaining.

Depression.

Acceptance.

At first I was shocked when I heard my daughter’s cry as she checked in on her pets. I denied the death of our pet was real, then felt angry for not being here in the moment our pet needed us. Or perhaps she knew and waited until we left. I immediately made mental plans to get a new pet (denial) so our other guinea pig wouldn’t be alone. Sadness lingers as we cling to the memories, watching the pets grow up with our kids who are only still half-grown.

Acceptance will come at its own pace. We’re not there yet, but we will be.

Life is a dance. Let’s get up and shake it for what it’s worth. Hug your loved ones today as we never really know when the music will stop playing.

Live life at your own speed. It’s yours. It’s a gift. Now is all there is.

 

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Remains of the Day

November 23, 2010

The Internet is a place of great complexity. You can be as close to someone in Shanghai via Skype as your partner in the next room. You can interact with someone via Email and have a sense of familiarity without ever hearing the person’s voice. You feel united with all of humanity without touching a soul.

I would argue that the very act of connection is touching our souls more than we think.

This morning I received the saddest news. The editor of several trade publications for which we have offered our PR client’s stories passed away. Did I know that he had cancer? No. Did I know that his email to me on October 21 would be our last ‘conversation’? Never.

It makes me sad that he is gone. I never really knew him. And perhaps it wasn’t meant to be that we would ever get to know one another beyond the “Great story. It will run next week” chat. But I sense a loss that is deep and surprising. And it causes me to reconsider how much we really ‘know’ about each other.

While I may be on the up and up about certain aspects of my friends’ and family’s lives via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I don’t really know how they are doing. Phone calls and Skype chats bring us closer, but nothing replaces the touch of a hand, a full-body hug and a smile. While we may be informed about certain things, the Internet lends us a false sense of security and intimacy.

Remember AT&T’s slogan, “Reach out and touch someone?” Perhaps it is time for us to do that in person. So go ahead and reach out, touch someone’s soul. If you can’t in person, give them a call, then listen ~ really listen to what the person is saying. You never know if it might be the last time.

What will you do with the remains of your day?

 

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