How do you cope with loss?

April 16, 2015


Is it me, or is there a pall hanging in the air right now?
I’m looking for something good, but I don’t see anything but sadness.

~a friend

When he asked me that question, a rhetorical one, really, I could relate.  A dear friend was in the hospital. Someone heading up a project for me had to resign at the 11th hour because a sibling had a major stroke; this was on top of a big delay because another sibling of theirs dropped dead unexpectedly two months before.

What is going on?

Life is going on, that’s what I’ve come to see.  It’s life. Which –at our ages now–comes with sickness and even death.

As much as we’d like to believe we’ll live into infinity, we won’t.

“I won’t be with you forever,” my friend said she told her grown children recently.

Hey, I’m not going to kid you. Mortality smacks us in the face, hard, at this age, as we watch our loved ones go through things–and as we cope with stuff ourselves that we never dreamed of when we were younger.

The fact that our friends and family will die–that we’re going to die?  A hard pill to swallow.  Coping with loss is hard.

There’s a lot of talk these days about how people want to deny aging. About injectables, cosmetic surgery and other interventions.

I won’t do any of that. But here’s an intervention worth doing:  eternal life.

No, I’m not going to walk down the Christian path here, as I’m not Christian. Or Jewish. Or Buddhist. Or Hindu.

But I do believe in eternal life. Just not as we know it now, here on earth.  That spark that’s uniquely ours? It goes on, in some form that we simply can not imagine right now. Not unless we have had a near-death experience.

white flowersHere’s another way I won’t kid you: even that belief is not much of a consolation when I see my loved ones suffer and some even die.  My life should go on the way it always has, I think to myself, with all the same people and events. Everyone should be well.

But that’s not realistic. My parents have died. Other family transitions have occurred. Some friends have gotten sick and others have passed into the next life.

It’s not a pall, it’s age that’s hanging in the air, and with aging comes sad events. So what are we to do with that?

Loss requires the perspective that joy brings. When bad stuff happens, I look for the good to balance it out. My life has plenty of good and so does yours.

I think of my delightful Riley and my unbelievably fabulous husband.  My loving friends around the globe.  My three smart, handsome nephews and the joy they bring to my life. (I stopped using quotes around nephews last month. They are all my nephews, although I share blood with only one.)

I talk to my husband about our next trips.

Rather than feel sad, I am inspired by the courage so many bring to their challenges.

I appreciate my writing and the creative spark that’s driving me to make fun changes to my home.

fall-flowersSometimes, when sh it happens, we must remind ourselves to get in touch with the joy in our lives.

Like my friend, I will not be here forever.  My nephews will age and I will be only a memory to them. That thought brings tears to my eyes. I can’t fathom it.

But that emotion? Those tears? They’re signs that I am living fully the time I have been assigned.

Which is all that we can ask of ourselves.

And we should ask it, for sure.

35 comments on “How do you cope with loss?
  1. Wow, this is a really tough subject to deal with. I’m the type of person that just needs to let it out and heal with time.

  2. Carol Graham says:

    The timing of this is so interesting because I interviewed a man on my radio show yesterday that lost his wife at 34 and she was laughing right to the end. She had a terrific sense of humor and although her death devastated him and his daughter for a moment, he took what he learned from her, wrote TWENTY-FIVE books on understanding the need for humor through tragedy and is a global keynote speaker on this specific subject.

  3. Such a timely topic for me Carol. I lost 3 very close friends one was my bff and then my father within weeks of each other last year.
    My bother was murdered at 26 and my stepson died of suicide at 17. I still struggle with the loss of the young ones.
    The other day my 33 year old stepson was diagnosed with non Hodgkin lymphoma.
    We are struggling for sure and we have never believed in why us, but…

  4. The anniversary of my dad passing is coming up next week. I miss him so much. I’m so grateful for life and try to appreciate each and every day!

  5. This topic is all too familiar. I lost a brother a few months ago. The 10 year anniversary of another brother’s passing happened a couple days ago. Another brother has been gone for 17 years. My best friend in my early life passed on when she was 21. It makes me wonder why some people are not touched by death until they are old, and others have it shadow them for decades and decades.

  6. When I take my last breath, my life will just begin :). Loss is hard to take even knowing that. We lost 5 family members 2 years ago and their loss is still felt everyday. Thanks for sharing.

  7. A very timely post. In four days, April 20th, my children and I will celebrate his life. We will share stories, some laughter and tears. My husband, the love of my life and their father, Michael, died in 1995. His spirit is still with us.

  8. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    I haven’t lost anyone that close to me, so I really don;t know how I would handle it.

  9. I’ve had really difficult times when losing friends and distant relatives. I simply cannot imagine how I will cope when it’s someone from my very closest loved ones. Hopefully I’ll go first… and be thankful for eternal life.

    Thought-provoking post, Carol.

  10. Jeanine says:

    Interesting to read today. Tomorrow would be my mom’s 62nd birthday, but sadly she passed at age 48. I don’t believe I’ve ever really dealt with her death to be honest. I was 16 and to this day it doesn’t seem real.

  11. Britney says:

    This is a great reminder that life is a precious thing! We need to make the best of it!

  12. Mary says:

    Leaving our loved ones is such a hard thing to think about, let alone cope with others leaving us. We must live each day to the fullest, that way when we go our loved ones don’t have to be as sad. Never mind, I come from an Italian family, it’s always a big deal no matter how good our life is!

  13. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    I have been extremely blessed. My parents are almost 90 but independent and healthy. It is something I give thanks for every day.

  14. The thing that stands out the most for me here, is that we live on, in our friends, in our children, in our relatives, in our work, maybe even just in our gardens and trees that we have planted. I never think of it that way, and today, Carol you’ve made that most comforting thought a reality!

  15. Sheryl says:

    An important reminder to live – really LIVE – every day to its fullest. Life can be filled with sorrow and loss, but if we don’t look for the silver lining, then all we do is wallow in it, rather than live in it.

  16. Barbara says:

    I lost both my parents. My mom had alzheimer’s so I feel like I lost her 10 years before she passed. 🙁 If you can understand that. I am a Christian and that is how I cope with loss and all of life’s situations.
    Living intentionally, loving, giving and enjoying our loved ones as you say, that is the best way.

  17. Carolann says:

    I just lost my dad last year. After Sandy he lost everything and it all went downhill from there. Such a raw topic for me. I can’t bring myself to discuss loss yet. 🙁

  18. K. Lee Banks says:

    Yes, a timely but sad topic. I’ve also lost both of my parents – Dad in 2002 and Mom in 2011. I also just lost my last uncle last week; only two aunts remaining from either side of the family.

  19. Heather says:

    I love this post, it’s true, despite all the bad that is around us, we have to find the good in things that get us through to the next day. Lovely inspiring post!

  20. Agata says:

    I struggle with loss… a lot… but you are right… time does help… a little

  21. Liz Mays says:

    I look for the good in those sad times as well. Otherwise, it can be just too much to deal with. We have to go on and we need to reach for the things that allow us to do that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.