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25 Life-Changing Things I've Learned from Loss... So Far

25 Life-Changing Things I've Learned from Loss... So Far

Grief is a process. It definitely isn't linear; more like the tides or the seasons. The more familiar I get with it, the more I see that pretty much everything in life has its seasons... including you.

Each season of grief brings its own lessons and challenges, its own weather and mood. And each one has its place.

Each season of YOU is worth coming through. However terrible it feels.

That's just one thing I've learned from loss, so far.

Here's another thing: if you open your heart to everything you feel (very hard to do), you'll see that even death can teach you how to live.

Grief isn't linear; more like the tides or the seasons. The more familiar I get with it, the more I see that everything in life has its seasons... including YOU. Each season of grief has its own lessons and challenges, its own weather and mood. And each one has its place. That's one thing I've learned from loss so far.

25 Important Things I've Learned from Loss

  1. There is no "normal."
  2. There is no "perfect."
  3. No matter what happened then, you have a say in what happens now.
  4. One step at a time is the best way through.
  5. Not everything has (or needs) a silver lining.
  6. You can't rush your healing.
  7. You can't force forgiveness.
  8. You don't need to hide your darkness.
  9. You don't need to grieve the same way every time.
  10. It's okay for joy to grow from the roots of sorrow.
  11. You can feel broken AND grateful, hopeful AND scared, depression AND resilience.
  12. There's light in the dark, and dark in the light.
  13. Relationships don't have to end when one person dies.
  14. Letting go of their physical belongings doesn't mean they're in your life any less.
  15. You're connected to everyone you've ever loved.
  16. You honor who you lost by how you live now.
  17. Your story is important enough to share.
  18. Everyone has a story worth listening to.
  19. Helping others helps you.
  20. Helping yourself helps others.
  21. Loving each other and loving yourself is kind of the same thing.
  22. You have to let yourself receive, too.
  23. Healing is important but so is "just living."
  24. You need sleep, movement, and fresh air in your lungs.
  25. You're going to have to learn some of the same things over and over again.

... probably a million other things.

I hope this makes you feel better about where you are in your process.

Let yourself be a process, too.

. . .

Tell me:

Which of these things are you learning right now? Anything else you'd add here from your own list?

Tell me in the comments. I read every single one, and I'd love to know.

With you,

Jen

P.S. To feel a little less alone, and a little more whole, get my Healing Heart Space meditation.

P.P.S. Want these kinds of posts in your inbox? Sign up for Tuesday emails and you'll also get my Healing Brave Manifesto, totally free.

Grief isn't linear; more like the tides or the seasons. The more familiar I get with it, the more I see that everything in life has its seasons... including YOU. Each season of grief has its own lessons and challenges, its own weather and mood. And each one has its place. That's one thing I've learned from loss so far. Here's another: no matter what happened then, you have a say in what happens now.

Comments on this post (7)

  • Apr 16, 2020

    Elle… bless you for sharing this. You never know how your story will help others in their own journey. We’re all so connected, in a way that’s hard to even fathom sometimes. It’s beautiful. You are beautiful, and I feel so grateful and honored that we can share our stories with others, online and out in our communities, because it’s a reminder that we’re in this together. We heal together. We affirm each other through our own experiences. And we are allowed to grieve and be grateful at the same time, we are allowed to experience small moments of divine healing even in the middle of a storm of grief. Thank you for your words <3

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Apr 16, 2020

    When my youngest child, (my only son) was killed in a vehicle accident I could not make sense of life. It was like being on the outside of something and looking in, and did not know why I should venture back in. Then my son spoke to me and told me I had not lost him, that he was still here. When he spoke to me I was among more than 200 people who were all filing out of a church. When he spoke to me I felt his presence, heard his voice inside of me and though I had been crying steadily for the past hour, I could smell the Polo he was wearing as he stood near me. The strangest of things in all of this is that for those few moments there was no movement and no sound. It was as if all 200 people stopped moving, stopped making a sound with their feet, or whispering to their neighbor. It was like only my son and I existed for how ever many seconds that this happened. (5 or 9 or 15) I DO NOT KNOW. I hesitated to tell anyone, but weeks later I was teaching a group about things to do with children and as all were leaving someone held up one of my books and asked about it, “What is this about?” I hesitated. I was apprehensive, but I floundered through an explanation which meant I needed to tell the miracle of my son’s visit. Later when everyone was gone and I had packed up all my supplies a woman returned crying. It turned out she had come back to see me alone and to thank me for telling everyone about the miracle, as she had a similar event take place and was warned by her family if she told a soul they would have her locked up as insane. She was so grateful to know what happened to me, because my happening had affirmed hers. Now she knew for certain she had received a beautiful gift that she could appreciate and celebrate and be comforted. As I drove away I spoke with God and told him: “Now I understand why you want me to talk about this!” We can help one another heal! How wonderful to discover this even in the midst of our own struggles, there we are still able to help others. My son was born April 3, 1972 and as an athlete driving to compete he was killed July 30 1989. Tomorrow is his birthday. I am blessed to have had him in my life for 17 years. I do not think we shall ever stop missing our loved ones. Be well and God bless you!

    — Elle Braun-Haley

  • Feb 29, 2020

    Thank you for sharing this with me, Barbara. I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. I feel like my mom is going through the same thing as you are, learning how to take care of yourself after not being used to it for so long. I hope you find unexpected joy and comfort in this new phase of life <3

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Feb 29, 2020

    Thank you, Jim, I’m so glad you can relate to some of these same things!

    — Jennifer Williamson

  • Feb 29, 2020

    This is so inspiring for me as I am going thru the loss of my husband of 21 years, he was sick most of that time so I know he is in a better place. I was his care provider and now learning how to care for myself and not feel selfish

    — Barbara

  • Feb 29, 2020

    Reading through the list again I settled on #25; “You’re going to have to learn some things over and over again.” Somehow that is comforting.

    — Jim

  • Feb 29, 2020

    Jen,

    I am learning No. 11 as I find you can feel broken and grateful, hopeful and sacred, depression and resilience. It is Healing Brave.

    I am learning No. 4 as one step at a time is the best way through with patience on the journey.

    And of course, “No matter what happened then, you have a say in what happens now.”

    Thank you Jen,

    Jim

    — Jim

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