The Paradox of Grief: Leading Your Life
It was January 29, 2005 when my daughter Jodi died from an osteosarcoma and I was 46. Life unexpectedly and rather quickly threw me and my family an enormous curveball. What was once a rather normal and ordinary life, quickly became an extraordinary venture entangled with both joy and sorrow. Life and death.
Loss of any type, whether it be a job termination, divorce, the end of a close personal relationship, or the death of a loved one, can send you staggering into an unknown world. For some it means the loss of identity and feeling at a loss for what to do. Loss also changes you.
After the initial rawness of reality and grief, I searched to answer the personal question, “who am I now?” Could the bittersweet paradox of grief ultimately be my teacher? Because life is strong and fragile, beautiful and ugly, simple and complex, humorous and catastrophic. Yet it seems contradictory in the realm of our realities that both “ands” are true at the same time.
In the past ten years, I have spoken with other people who have experienced vast forms of loss. Our conversations usually lead to “how do you create a life you want after your devastating loss?” I openly share a few personal things I did then and encourage you to try.
Practice gratitude. This may sound like an overused cliche, but often in our sorrow we find it difficult to find things that are good. When we view things through the lens of gratitude, our world is richer. It is difficult to bring about something new when you are not able to see that which is already present in your life.
Be open to all that is unknown. With any loss comes enormous fear, and this fear can cause restriction in our thoughts and behavior. Living with a restricted view is like breathing with one lung, you are unable to expand your breath properly. Opening yourself up is necessary to creating a new path –even in uncertainty.
Accept there are unanswered questions. Some losses will never provide answers. They don’t present themselves with a reason. Seeking a reason for your loss can lead to countless tears and more loss.
Creating and living life post-loss is possible, if you as the leader of your life consciously nurture it.