By Olea Gough

olea author pic

What have you lost this last year? Maybe it was a loved one? Maybe a job? A dream you had been working towards? Or perhaps it was the sense of normalcy?

grief and loss

Last Thursday my Tio Tommy passed away. Technically he was my great uncle, older brother to my grandmother on my mother’s side. But really, I was closer to him than I ever was to either of my grandfathers. About ten years ago, my little family started an annual tradition of driving to Arizona to spend Thanksgiving with him and the granddaughter he raised. During those years we became very close. He became one of my greatest allies, confidants, and a means of great moral support for me. He lived a long and wonderful life, dying at the age of 90. He had his share of struggles and triumphs,
mistakes and subsequent victories.

Ultimately, he was a great example to those around him of how a life can change when you turn it over to God, and I admired him deeply.

Losing him has been hard and I’ve thought a lot this last week about the pattern of loss, grief, and rebuilding. The funny thing is that oftentimes when we think about grief, we attach it to death, as if the only time we grieve is when someone we love has passed on. But as I look back over my life, I realize that there are many losses I have grieved, and needed to grieve in order to find a new sense of normalcy and feel joy again. I have lost loved ones through death, both people and pets. I have lost friends, through moves or other life changes. I have lost through job transitions, my own and my husband’s. I have lost physical abilities. I even lost the vision in my right eye.

Maybe one of the hardest losses I have had to work through is the loss of normalcy, because that one has made me question my sanity. I have caught myself thinking some of the following thoughts…I don’t know why I am struggling. This shouldn’t be this hard. I’m such a baby. I’m so lazy and have no motivation to do anything. No one else would be having such a hard time with this.

Maybe you have had some thoughts like this over the last year, when the thing that rocks your world doesn’t seem like it should have even made you wobble. I want you to know…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Any loss is hard and every loss needs to be grieved. You are not a wimp for needing to acknowledge that you have lost your footing when things have changed in your life. Needing to take some time to deal with it is not being lazy. And EVERYONE has a hard time when they lose something, even if it doesn’t appear like it to others.

grief and loss

We all grieve differently and the steps are rarely in the same order for everyone. But grieving does include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We can experience these things in a different order, for different lengths of time, and even multiple times until we finally arrive in a place of acceptance and healing.

Next month when I write, I will share more about what I have learned about the process of acceptance and healing. But for right now, I just want you to know that if you have had a loss in your life, one that I’ve mentioned or any other kind of loss, it’s okay to feel all that you are feeling. It’s okay to
acknowledge the loss and recognize that you are in the process of grieving. Your feelings are normal and they are okay.


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