The beloved Theodor Seuss Geisel, affectionally known simply as Dr. Seuss wrote a book in 1990 that has become a classic. It is entitled, Oh, the Places You’ll Go.” Although it has become the perfect gift to give others when they graduate from nursery school to graduate school, the thoughts and lessons are timeless, ageless and worth considering.
The book refers to the bang-ups and hang-ups we all experience in life and talks about the difficulty of ‘un-slumping’ ourselves when we meet a road block. The challenge of choosing the next path in our lives can be daunting even paralyzingly at times. All of a sudden (or so it seems) life has changed course and you are left questioning, ” What do I do next?” This is especially true for those of us who have experienced a major change in our lives, especially a loss. At first, time seems to stand still, then evolves into a slow drag stage. Sooner than we may be ready, life begins to resume at full pace – at least for the rest of the world. We are left wondering, does anyone remember that I lost a loved one who is irreplaceable to me? Do they see the bleeding of my heart? You think to yourself, my head knows what happened but when will my heart accept it?
Developing a Plan B for your life may take every once of energy you have and leave you breathless just putting pencil to paper but it is absolutely critical to do so. Plan B can become your life line – your reason to get out of bed in the morning. You may wonder, when will I shake this? Is there something wrong with me? Followed, of course, by the thought will I ever be the same again?
There is nothing wrong with you when you react like this to loss. You are gradually accepting that the change – the loss is real and no amount of wishing or hoping will change the fact that your heart is broken. It will take time and the loving support of others to help you regain your footing. It may take a lifetime – be patient with yourself. Beyond family and friends a talented grief counselor can help. Maybe that is why God/Universal Energy put these folks in our lives, to help us stand when we can not find the strength or will to do so for ourselves. Yes, your life will be unalterably changed but not stopped, not frozen in time. You will dig out of the hole you may be in and gradually see the light at the end of the tunnel. You may think you are slipping back into the morass of ‘why’ from time to time. It’s okay – you are okay. Remember, as my son said in my book, our lives are like a photo album with pages that are left blank. They will be filled in over time.
So what is the good news? You have memories to last forever. You were given the gift of unconditional love for another. No one can ever take that away from you. The depth of your loss is directly proportionate to the depth of your love. You loved deeply and well and have been forever changed by it. Deeper as a person, a little less quick to jump to conclusions and more aware of the magnificence and delicate nature of life.
You will be ready to help the next person who crosses your path when they experience a major life change or loss and will serve as a model of survival. Granted, you may be a little battered and bruised but upright nonetheless. When you run across someone that seems to believe there is an acceptable or normal amount of time for grieving you will think to yourself that they have a very important lesson yet to learn. Yet, you will be ready to help them when they experience a loss. Why? Because you have survived a major life change – or loss – and your loved one would want you to ‘pay your lessons forward.’ The Universe is about learning our lessons, being grateful for love and becoming more aware of the significance of our individual purpose.
Have a happyThanksgiving!