As the USA marks National Grief Awareness we ask, how do you deal with loss?

Even as the USA marks National Grief Awareness Day today August 30, the world struggles to cope with the immense loss of life on multiple fronts, from Covid-19 to Haiti and Afghanistan. National Grief Awareness Day is dedicated to raising awareness of the myriad ways in which individuals cope with loss. In the US and throughout the world thanks to various national programs, the day or week offers resources to those going through personal losses and reminds us to support people we know who are grieving. Here, one of our writing contributors Janet shares her thoughts.

Over the last 18 months, loss is no stranger. Many are faced with their own mortality and that of those around them.  I have lived this reality, I recently lost my grandmother, not to covid, she had a stroke, then caught pneumonia.

Four years ago, I lost my dad, losing his mother reminded me that I am next in the food chain, morbid but reality. During this time period the subject of death and suicide came up at college, I’m currently training to become a counsellor. 

Now, what do I say about this timing? Initially, I was horrified, this was not the time to delve deeper into death.  As the weeks passed, I became so grateful for this module. It prepared me to deal with the emotion and reminded me death and loss are inevitable and it’s better to be faced than feared.

What did this mean for me, well another way of looking at it is this. Loss is an integral part of life, we lose our keys, some of us more than others, over the last 18 months many people have lost jobs and of course life. Loss is always around, the backdrop of covid has made that even more of a reality.

Loss does not have to be daunting, although it often is. Loss can also be the conduit to change. Whether it be that we add a big pink fluffy puffer to keys, or sitting with ourselves to explore our skills and explore our new jobs options. 

Guess what, there are many times that the new opportunity blows the previous job out of the water, we just needed that push. 

If we are honest, we would rather not experience the element of loss, that loss though can propel us into new arenas and new opportunities that we may never have explored.

So loss does not have to be daunting or disempowering, that said, me realising I am at the top of the food chain, do I recoil or do I put a big pink puffy keyring on my life or have self-exploration session.

How do you put a keyring on your life I hear you ask, well I’m glad you asked. I equate it to this, write the vision make it clear. Have clear direction as to how I want my remaining years to count. Stop losing direction, be clear about what I want to achieve, dream big, it’s not too late.

I’ve spent time reflecting, what am I good at, do I believe that my gifts can really make room for me. Yes, yes I do believe that, so its time to hit pause, then play at the top of my game, what do I mean, I’m seeking opportunities to showcase my skills and talents, I’m looking for opportunities to do the things I love to do, and guess, somehow they are finding me.

So my closing words are these… 

  • Loss is inevitable, it comes in many forms
  • Don’t ignore it when it happens, but don’t allow it to consume you
  • Look for those new opportunities, explore your capabilities
  • What can you do something differently, embrace the change
  • The opposite to loss is find, find your new rhythm and own it confidently