As I wrote in my previous post, loss demands change. We are not the same after a loss. It’s not so much what happens to us, as it is how we respond to what happens to us.
Some of us respond with bitterness (as I did initially after getting my daughter’s diagnosis), and we may continue playing out this negativity throughout our lives.
Some of us will be able to move beyond the pain with renewed ‘positiveness’ and strength; with renewed purpose and meaning, creating a new way of living.
Viktor Frankl states, “The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity –even under the most difficult circumstances—to add a deeper meaning to his life.”
Along the same line: “Man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”
When we allow ourselves to go through the pain- feel the painful feelings, stay with them, express them- we eventually come through it. It is then that we can begin to connect with our new reality and start attaching new dreams and goals to what is.
We loosen our grip to the loss, detach from the heavy weight of grief so that we can become free to connect to our new reality. The sadness, although still present but perhaps to a less piercing degree, moves to the background and the presence of our current life moves to the forefront. We’re in a position to begin to reorganize our life and reinvest in the new.
It means becoming more comfortable with the way things are rather than staying with the way things were supposed to be or the way they were.
Creating new dreams, finding new meaning, perhaps differently than before, represents growth. Prior concentration on our loss shifts to the building of the new present and future. This shift can be seen as growth. And the changes in our life can be seen as challenges ready to be met with our new-found hope and resilience. We are then ready to work with our response to our situation- what will we make of it; is there something positive I can do with my loss/misfortune? Can I rebuild my life with new meaning and find new joy?
It was only when I went through my intense grieving process upon finding out Nava (my middle daughter) had disabilities, that I was able to meet the daily challenges head-on and do what I needed to do to help her in a productive and positive way. I certainly needed to get rid of some of those most toxic and harmful feelings of bitterness, anger and sinking sadness. I had to detach and let go of the dream of having that ‘normal’ child in order to be able to work well with what I had; and eventually be able to create new hopes and expectations.
It was then that I was able to get ‘nachas’ (translated from Yiddish to mean joy and pride) from all she was slowly able to learn to do. Having some of my dark clouds shift allowed for some sunlight to seep through. And I could start to feel the good feelings.
Painful feelings are certainly re-felt at various times and milestones throughout life, but they don’t take on a life of their own and I am able to move through them fairly easily.
My ultimate goal became that she be well adjusted with good feelings about herself, and be as independent and productive as possible; with continuous growth and progression on the top rung of the ladder of life.
My monthly interviews exemplify this theme of growing beyond our losses, of transcending and transforming, of rebuilding and recreating new dreams , of choosing to respond to life’s adversities with ‘positiveness’ and a renewed sense of purpose; of sometimes taking our lemons and making lemonade by creating and engaging in something bigger and beyond ourselves. Do check out some of them. They are quite uplifting and give us some wonderful lessons on how to live well despite…. (each person’s difficulty)
What does growth mean to you? How have your losses or difficulties shaped you?
Thank you for stopping by and reading.