Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Unfamiliar Territory of Loss

At my chronic pain support group yesterday, we had a profound conversation about grieving. I attend this group regularly as a "spiritual advisor," but often find that I am the one who benefits, as happened yesterday.

Members of the group spoke eloquently about what they had to give up as a result of their pain. One man had to give up a charter boat business and was clearly grieving for that loss. Another person had to deal with the limitation of arthritis and giving up the competitive sports that she loved. Another woman spoke of losing her husband, son, and closest friend to death in a period of a few years.

Such losses are painful and can thrust us into unfamiliar territory where we feel lost and alone. These losses create the need to rebuild a new life and form new relationships. Pain is a limitation, but we can recreate a new life within the limitations it places upon us.

What was inspiring about these stories of loss and grief was the resilience of the sufferers. None of these persons were throwing in the towel or giving up. Rather, they were struggling to find a new way through unfamiliar territory. This discussion caused me to rethink how I will deal (and have dealt) with the losses that inevitably will come.

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