Loss and Grieving

I attended the funeral of Lloyd Bachman today. He was 90. A good man, who lived a good life. He will be sorely missed. I am grateful for having known him for more than 40 years.

I will attend another funeral next week for a woman who died this morning. A good woman, who lived a good life, but younger in years. Her death leaves a different kind of hole in my life – she died of cancer.

Death is most certainly a significant loss. Life is so very full of loss: the loss of a dream, of a loved one, of a body part, of a relationship, of a position at work or in the community, of a prized possession…the list goes on. And all loss requires grieving. Grieving is a process of discovery. What was lost? What is left? What is possible? It is the work of the grieving process to transform the loss into an opportunity for growth, choosing to find new meaning as a result of living with those questions over time.

The experts agree that if we do not grieve a loss all the way to the end, it will wait for us. It won’t just dissipate and disappear. I still have what I describe as “grieving days”, when I borrow trouble and feel guilty about living life so fully. It is on those days that I patiently remind myself that I was given the opportunity to choose life and was successful in achieving that goal for yet another day, and I move on – sometimes slowly, not always gracefully.

May we all take advantage of the opportunity that loss and grieving present – to grow and find new meaning in life. Be grateful for it all.

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