Living Loss

Living Loss

“Loss is part of life. If you don’t have loss, you don’t grow.” ~Dominick Cruz

I have friends who own property in Florida: Tampa, Orlando, Naples, Jacksonville.

All have experienced varying degrees of damage to their homes and cities from hurricane Ian’s fierce visit last week.

I have spent several weeks on Sanibel Island, an idyllic, gentle slow-paced place; it’s now decimated, cut off from the mainland, its sole bridge ripped away during Ian’s onslaught.

And the damage continues up the east coast with coastal cities and inland communities flooded.

The financial costs of this natural disaster could exceed 100 billion dollars, displace millions of people, and possibly force thousands of businesses to close permanently.

And all this, after the pandemic.

Is this our new normal?

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“Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, “It Might Have Been.” ~George Ade ‘More Fables

Human beings are experiencing loss everywhere—and on a larger scale.

Whether it’s physical, like a natural disaster, or emotional, like the death of a loved one, loss is loss.

Loss of life, relationships, friends, or family.

Loss of homes, livelihoods, and once trusted patterns of daily routines.

Loss of memories, momentos, and what might have been, the what ifs and if onlys.

Anderson Cooper is someone I’ve admired over the years. The recent loss of his mother, the last member of his immediate family, prompted a podcast on grief. Listening to it prompted this blog post.

My top take away: when you consent to love another human being, you’re also consenting to grieve them, one way or the other.

And it’s not just human beings, it’s whatever we love: our stuff, our treasures, our abilities, our pets. I’m intellectually aware of this, of course, having had numerous pets who I suspect will die before I do, but emotionally, the physical loss still whacks me off center for a long time.

And I’m still grieving the loss of my left knee a decade ago that has prevented me from playing competitive tennis.

But I am reassured by the words of Rabbi Earl Grollman, an internationally recognized bereavement counselor and best-selling author, who said, “grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical, and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”

Recognizing grief as necessary—while distinguishing it from fear, which grief spawns—and acknowledging and honouring it by taking the time required to integrate and learn from it, can catapult us to a higher level of understanding and a larger capacity for compassion.

Already, 33 states have sent first responders and equipment to help restore power to the devastated region.

Greeting grief as an opportunity for transformation can, indeed, become transformative, can become a time of giving and coming together.

Grief can become a gift.

It can unify communities as well as clarify priorities.

If we let it.

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” ~Jan Gildwell



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About
Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

When your people have the skills to communicate more effectively, they can connect more easily and collaborate more productively. Not only on the job, but also in life.

Communication, Connection, and Collaboration—the three “C’s”—are the cornerstones of all successful businesses. They are the result of Emotional Intelligence in action.

More details can be found in my recent best seller with co-author Jennifer Eggers:
Resilience: It’s Not About Bouncing Back

The power of resilience within organizations can transform an average company into a powerhouse. Yet, even in times of rapid disruptive change, there is no manual for building resilient organizations. This book is that manual.

“If you  want to build more resilience intentionally—personally and professionally—read this book.
~
Fran Karamousis, Chief  of Research, Gartner

 

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