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Discovering Ourselves in Our Losses

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My book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, will be released in the next few weeks. This series of blog posts and podcast episodes will focus on what it means to lose someone who was significant in your life, and the important work required to heal and recover.

Grieving is Hard Work!

Grieving was some of the hardest work I have ever done. When my husband died after forty-two years of marriage, I looked for resources to help me through the process. The books available at that time were either too clinical or singular in purpose, such as memoirs.

We have come a long way from those days when the focus was simply on getting people through the early days and months after a loss. It is now recognized that grieving includes the need to focus on how to rebuild your life.

Losses are Part of Life

Grieving a loss is hard work. It takes time to work through the emotions, layers, knots and tangles. | FocusWithMarlene.com

Throughout our lifetime we will experience losses. Most are small or minor; we negotiate the change and move on, such as typical life changes. We might feel sad about what we are giving up but are looking forward to what the future holds.

Significant losses, however, are different. They are often unexpected and involve leaving something of great importance behind. The death of a husband or child, for example, is monumental, and you struggle with the enormity of how drastic your life has been altered. There is little anticipation for happiness in the future.

Although I have lost both a husband and a child, my posts will primarily focus on the loss of a spouse. However, the information is applicable to any major loss.

Creating New Beginnings

Processing a loss is more than just recovery; it is redefining who you are in order to create a new beginning.

As I worked with grief and loss groups, individuals wanted more than just talking about their loss – they wanted information on how to move forward. I started creating worksheets for them that reflected where they were in their journey and information and exercises to take them beyond. They found these extremely helpful and it became the genesis of my book.

My book is divided into four sections:

Part I – An Unwanted Journey, addresses those early days, weeks and months when we feel the acute pain from our loss.

Part II – Letting Go: Closing the Door, focuses on letting go so we can put our loss to rest and begin focusing on taking that next step.

Part III – From One Reality to Another: Redefining Yourself, addresses the question, “Who am I now?

Part IV – A New Beginning, suggests the many ways we can start a new chapter in our life.

The two Appendixes give in-depth information on dealing with difficult grief emotions and the critical need for support systems.

Each chapter begins with a vignette which addresses the thoughts and feelings we experience, and a Reflection and Personal Application worksheet that offers clinical information and exercises.

As we work through our grief we begin to heal and recover. We will struggle with hanging on to what we had before we can let go. Eventually, we can close one chapter of life so another can begin.

Healing does not mean we forget or no longer remember; it neither diminishes nor eliminates our losses.

But it does mean we make conscious choices to move forward, so our lives are no longer dominated by grief. We not only heal but find a new song and dance for our lives as well.

If you or someone you know are currently going through a loss, I encourage you to follow my blog and podcast. When my book is released, it will have a hard copy version, an e-book version and an audio book available. I will let you know when it has been released.

Marlene Anderson

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