Take it one day at a time.
We hear this sometimes when we are going through a tough ordeal. It reminds us that looking too far ahead may bring about unnecessary worry and stress and that often the key to our sanity is to take things in stride-”one day at a time.”
It can be a difficult task though. The death of a loved one. The loss of a job. A grim diagnosis. A bad accident that causes the loss of use of limbs. These kinds of circumstances can be devastating. Sometimes, initially, they can seem almost unbearable.
A broken heart and/or a wounded spirit are liken unto an open wound of the flesh, painful, unclean and festering, a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and highly susceptible to infection. Hopelessness, despair, defeat, and self-pity act as the bacteria infecting our hearts and spirits; affecting our will to overcome, our will to live.
Our minds are flooded with memories of the person we lost in sweet reminisce and sometimes in bitter regret. Our spirits are broken by news of a lifelong illness or disease or the likelihood of never walking again.
We ponder as to how we would ever be able to face life again. What I’m supposed to do now? How I am supposed to get through this? How I do I begin to pick up the pieces? Somewhere, in the midst of, or beyond the words, “take it one day at a time”, lies the answer.
In our lowest moments, sometimes we would rather not be bothered by people’s display of sympathy, well wishes, or words of encouragement. We want to feel what we feel.
However, often we do need the support of family and friends at our lowest moments. They often remind us that, in times of adversity, of any form, we must hold fast to our faith.
The way in which we experience loss, can and, often does vary from individual to individual. It is okay to grieve. While it may be useful to think of it as a process, it might be equally as useful to consider that you may always feel anger, sadness, and pain over your losses and that grief has no time limit. The latter perspective suggests that grief could very well be a part of your life as it relates to your loss, but that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Grief is not linear. That is, it does not occur along some set path; from one stage to the other. You may go in and out of various stages throughout your life and this speaks to the continuous relationship between yourself and the person or thing that you lost. We also have to consider the ways in which we ourselves change. In this way, holding fast to your faith is not about “getting over” it. It is about your changing relationship to the painful loss.
Do not attempt to assess whether or not you are grieving “correctly”. Do not think of yourself as having something wrong with you because you are still in a relationship with the person or thing that you have lost. Instead embrace how you are changing and how your grief will change in various ways over time.
Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.