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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Letting go and letting God - The timing and art of letting go.

As some of you know two years ago (2014) I had two significant deaths.  One was a friend from a church group I was attending, the other was my mom.  In 2011, it was my brother Bill.  As many know, I had a divorce in 2011 as well and various relationship disappointments over time.

So, I've had a little bit of experience in losing and letting go.  I've noticed a few things about letting go and this isn't meant as a 'blame' blog, but rather an observation one.

1) Our society isn't built for the proper grief,  Maybe any modern society isn't, but I don't know.  It's funny one week you are burying your mom, the next week you are back at work.   It's like, well we are sorry your close loved one died, but time moves on, there are deadlines.  So, after a few days, suck it up and pretend like nothing happened and keep pressing on with your job.   I don't blame anyone in particular.  Everyone has a job to do and people rely on me.  They can't just wait around until my head stops spinning from the recent tragedy.  In other words, the world invariably has to move on at some point.  But, sometimes it feel a little bit insensitive.

2) Everyone says, I'm sorry to hear about your <lost love one>.   In my case, it was my mom last July.   I know they are and I appreciate them for that.  But, sometimes everyone is not really sure what to say.  I don't blame them, grief is not a subject taught in school.  It tends to be something we pick up on the fly.  My friend James, whom I love like a brother, lost his mom around the beginning of the century and his dad more recently.   I was a friend of the family to them.  I liked his parents, but I didn't have the day to day interaction with them.   I was sad for him and I was bothered that our circle lost two wonderful people and the world was a little less complete place because of that.  Alternatively, everyone who knew them was better off for knowing each of them.
---
     James, your parents really set the example of how to raise a family and how, as a couple, to treat each other.  You and Pat were very blessed, but you know that. :-)
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Anyway, he first lost his mom and I attempted to comfort him along the way and then grieve with him.  But, I knew whatever I said/did, fell short.  I just couldn't relate.  When I lost my brother in 2011, it really hit home.  I finally understood the hurt of losing such a significant person in your life.  I was able to revisit the loss in the lives of friends and say, you know I get it.  Moving forward, I now know how badly it can hurt someone, and not just in an abstract way.

3) Grief, really doesn't care what anyone thinks.  Grief has its own wants and needs.   I could say, well, that person was just a friend I knew for a short amount of time, so it's silly that I should really bothered by their passing.   Society might say, it's been years since, he/she has died, you need to move on.  Grief says, I'm not ready to let go.  You can push aside grief, but invariably it is still there just waiting like a needy child to be comforted.    Now that I think about it, grief is a bit jealous.  It can demand your attention.

4) What is moving on, what it isn't.
    a) It isn't forgetting about that person.  It person/relationship was significant, this may never happen.  You don't have to spend all your waking moments thinking about them to honor them or the significance of them in your life.
    b) It isn't disrespecting that person's memory.  Going forward is not disrespecting, it is meeting healthy needs in your life,
    d) It is knowing that nothing you can do will change what happened.  It was time for the loved one to go or the relationship to end.
    e) "Going there" only from time to time, rather than focusing paralyzing time/attention on them.
    f) It is being able to look back more clearly at the timeline of the loss.

I guess, the takeaway for me, is to try to be respectful of the mourning of another.  Each person's needs are different.  The best thing you can do is keep the other in your prayers that God gives the proper healing they need, He does it in the time which is right for them and gives you the patience and understanding to accept it.





** Since this was originally posted, my dad passed away at the age of 74 (May 1, 2015)

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