Losing a loved one teaches you some things… things you’d rather have learned another way, but here you are anyway. You learn that life goes on even while you wish you could pause and press rewind. You find love, even after everything. And it carries you and you do what you can. Mostly, you learn that it’s still your turn to live.
Wish you had more support? Get my free Healing Brave Manifesto to inspire how you carry on. It's about you, what you're going through, and what you can do.
9 Lessons Learned from Losing a Loved One
1. Life moves forward.
… but you don’t have to move on.
Time stops and you wish the world would stop with you. You’ll find yourself moving with it eventually, but you do that in your own time, in your own way.
With support and love, even this movement which hurts so much at first turns into its own blessing.
“If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I'll stay there forever.” — Winnie the Pooh
2. Don’t miss the simple things.
The purpose of your life is to live, deeply.
You can’t control most things, but you can savor what’s right in front of you. You can cherish the people still here. You can live in honor of those who have gone before you.
3. Life is worth living.
There’s so much to experience, so many people to learn about, so much more you can do, give, enjoy, dream. Drink in your experiences. Live them fully. It’s still your time on earth.
“My past and my future depends on today.” — Tevor Hall
4. You’re not alone.
Death brings with it a wider perspective. Loss reminds you that you’re on a planet full of people who grieve… and you start meeting them. You start meeting each other on that level, through empathy, pain, story, and hope.
You feel the truth deep in your soul: that we’re here, together, under the same sky, learning the same things. And we rebuild, together.
5. Love lives on.
Love is the only thing you get to take with you when you go.
Losing a loved one teaches you that even you are worthy of love and belonging. That love isn’t what hurts: it’s the mess of not knowing where to send your love after someone you love dies.
Death isn’t an ending, but a continuation of love. You learn how to love even after everything. You learn how to carry their love with you, to love how they loved. That’s the love that carries you.
6. You ARE strong.
Strength doesn’t mean you always feel strong. It means you show up anyway.
It takes courage (strength) to stand emotionally open and give your heart even though it’s risky. It takes trust (strength) to take your pain and give back differently. Strength means making it all the way here, even though it was hard to get up this morning.
“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me an invincible summer.” — Albert Camus
7. You have a choice.
Even in the chaos and struggle, you get choices. You get to choose how you see the world, what you focus on, and how you respond.
You decide whether or not what happened was wrong or something that happened, something that’s now part of your life. You choose how you love now.
8. There’s a lot of heaven in the world.
It’s easier to focus on the bad, the negative, and the pain. It’s also okay and necessary to acknowledge how you feel about it all. That doesn’t mean you need to stay in those feelings for the rest of your life.
The good news is that there’s beauty still. There are people who care and those who’ve come to give. Loss nudges your heart open so you can take it all in… all the things you didn’t pay attention to before.
“Earth's crammed with heaven.” — Elizabeth Barrett Browning
9. Maybe nothing is really lost.
I believe that love is the one thing we get to take with us when we go. That nothing done in love can be erased. That the love you share is the same love that makes life happen, over and over again.
“The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” – Seneca
. . .
Which of these lessons are you learning, or do you have another to share?
Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I’d love to know.
P.S. Get the comfort you need when it’s dark out. Get my book Sleep Affirmations: 200 Phrases for a Deep and Peaceful Sleep. It’s more than a book about sleep. It’s healing and hope you can hold in your hands.