Coping With the Loss of a Loved One

I had a friend who lost his son at 18 due to suicide.

Yesterday I met a woman whose boyfriend died two years ago from lung cancer while she continues to mourn.

You don’t have to lose a loved one in the prime of their years to feel genuine loss.  My mother passed away at 96 and I miss her every day. 

There are many stages of grief.

I once asked a well-known counselor how long grief should last and he replied, as long as it lasts.

How long is that?

Whenever the grieving is complete as long as you can continue to function in your everyday life.  If not, it’s time to seek counseling to better cope.

The way to add meaning to the loss of someone dear to you is to isolate the one characteristic that he or she had that you most admired.

Then devote your life attempting to make that trait a part of you.

In that way, the deceased lives on through you.

And in some small way, their death is a just a bit easier to accept.

Gandhi said it eloquently:

“There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart”.

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  • @Diane Cartwright All is forgiven.  Your mother is in a better place and rooting for you and she is no doubt proud that you value the qualities she once had as your own.

  • As most daughters, in my youth,  I fought the idea that I was “just like ‘your’ mother”.  She was so colorful, different, stubborn, fun and strong-willed.  Now, 10 months after losing her I do embrace her positive qualities, even her stubbornness and flare for being “different”, and I see so much of her in me.  I find myself using little expressions she used all the while endeavoring not to lose my own unique personality.  As my holistic doctor observed, “You can’t live your mother’s life.  You have to live yours.”  I do.  I will, all the while carrying her with me in a special place of honor in my heart. 
    In the process of her disease she said some horribly hurtful things to me, but that was the disease talking.  I have to remember the night she visited me in Seattle where I was working middays for KNUA.  She looked at me and said, “You are everything I ever wanted to be.”  I treasure that because she was everything I wanted to be.

  • Thanks to all of you for your comments.
    I lost my dearest friend in the world two years ago December but I really started losing him 9 years earlier when he developed Alzheimer’s.  Yet he knew me and his face lit up when he heard my voice.  There is not a day that I don’t remember this kind man for being so person centered and I would like to keep his many great qualities alive in me to the extent possible.  Somehow even trying makes it a little easier to accept the loss.

  • Thank you, Jerry.  I lost my wonderfully beautiful, energetic, warmly loving, fun and mischievous mother 10 months ago from Alzheimer’s.  Through all the devastation to her body and mind she never lost her smile, her essence, her passion for life.  I felt it every day.  It was a privilege to care for her right up until her last breath.  To paraphrase Gandhi, she truly does live in my heart.  She was my dearest friend.

  • All true. The death of a loved one is only a loss if you allow it to be. Gleening the trait of someone you lost and memories embraced sacredly can thrive in your heart if you let them , there to live forever.

  • NICE sentiment…very.  And worth practicing.

The Best Way To Gain Control

We all know control freaks.

They are at work, in our families and, yes, even staring back at us in the mirror.

Being around controlling people tends to rub off on us even if we are inclined not to be all that controlling.

This topic fascinates me in our fast moving competitive world where there is more self-absorption than ever before in a 24/7 race to have it our own way.

Yet the answer to living with controlling people is not to become like them.

It’s a disease that they’ve inherited, acquired or otherwise cobbled together to stay competitive.

Elizabeth Brenner in Winning by Letting Go offered these keys to ridding ourselves of the control that kills our spirit and hurts our relationships:

  1. Accept things as they really are.  Let go of our wishes, fantasies and fears and deal with what can be changed.
  2. Get to know yourself better.  You cannot give away what you do not have.
  3. “Any lingering attachments to having things our way hook us back into barter and control”. 

Therefore the irony in life is that we gain control by giving up control.

No control freak is really in control – they just make other people and themselves miserable.

When you’ve had it up to here with control freaks or even your controlling tendencies, try surrendering by giving up control.

And feel the freedom and power that comes with. 

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  • Interesting to read this today considering that for the first time in my 20 plus years of being in radio in some capacity, I am seriously considering walking away from it completely. Why? Micro-managing. I’d like to think that I have a real passion for this industry…but maybe in my own way I’m being controlling and possibly denying my wife and family of the lifestyle and the time that they deserve.

22 Reasons To Never Give Up

I found this wonderfully inspiring list of reasons to never, ever give up when adversity strikes.

Sometimes we need reassurance that staying the course will eventually reward us.

Here are a few reasons to never give up:

  1. As long as you are alive, anything is possible.
  2. You are stronger than you think.  A little setback is not enough to stop you from achieving your goals.
  3. If someone else can do it, so can you.
  4. Another reason:  Your family and friends.  Let the people you love and who mean the world to you inspire you. 
  5. You are so close.  At any given time you are only a heartbeat from success.

Baseball great Babe Ruth said, “You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.”

See the entire list of 22 here.

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High Hopes and High Expectations

Some claim that they cannot stay motivated unless they have high expectations of succeeding.

Yet, this approach is almost a guarantee of failure.

Alfred Korzybski posited that since our knowledge of anything is always limited and the future is uncertain, keeping our expectations low is a more productive use of our time and efforts.

Having no expectations is cynical and encourages us to not even try.

Harry Weinberg, the Temple University Professor and general semanticist reminds us that when we keep our expectations low, we “have a map that fits the territory”.

So life becomes a series of successes no matter how small they are making us happier than we would be with high risk, high expectations.

According to Weinberg:

“There is a big difference between high hopes and high expectations. In the former, we are prepared for failure and for success, in the latter only for success.  The ideal is embodied in the old chestnut ‘Expect the worst and hope for the best’”.

Working harder and expecting less is the formula to increased happiness.

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  • @580KIDO Thanks for the retweet

When All You Ever Wanted Is Not Enough

The best selling author Harold Kushner (When Bad Things Happen to Good People) wrote another book, not as well known but powerful beyond imagination.

In When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough Kushner reminds us that the happiest people in the world are not the richest and most famous.

Not the ones that work hardest at being happy.

That may explain why being happy doesn’t appear on many to-do lists.

The happiest people are the ones who are kind, helpful and reliable.  Isn’t that fascinating? 

And then happiness just happens while they are busy doing these things – a byproduct not a primary goal.

Kushner says,

“Happiness is a butterfly – the more you chase it, the more it flies away from you and hides.  But stop chasing it, put away your net and busy yourself with other, more productive things that the pursuit of personal happiness, and it will sneak up on you from behind and perch on your shoulder.”  

Today is a great day to try just being the fine person you are and letting happiness land on your shoulder.

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  • Happiness is like YOUR SHADOW. If you start running to catch it, it always a step ahead of you; but if you walk toward the sun; she will always follow you.