My daughter was the one who first told me.
I heard it over and over again since then, “Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.” Neither of us has ever met Kobe, his daughter, or his friends, but sadness instantly struck. The catastrophe was unimaginable. We talked about their friends and families and how they had woken up that morning just like every other morning, but now their lives were forever changed. Shock, grief, and loss were about to assault them and overtake the normalcy of their lives. “It is so tragic, Mom. I cannot bear the pain I feel for their families.” Bria said through her tears of empathy. Loss does not discriminate. Everyone will have a measure of joy and a measure of pain in their lives.
How will their families ever recover, I wonder?
And yet, I know that life will continue, and they will somehow learn to move forward with a new normal. Public sentiment will die down years before they adjust to life without the ones they love. Loss is like that. It overtakes you, permeates the hearts of those around you, and then leaves you standing alone as it releases everyone else back to their busyness. How do you navigate through a significant loss, find your footing, and learn to pursue your dreams again?
Loss comes in many different forms
Death, prison, divorce, loss of a job, and many other events that cause us to lose what we once had. I find that often, the loss comes as a surprise. Hit in the gut, the wind knocked out of you, falling to your knees, and shocked might be a better description than surprised. You must learn to cope with loss and learn to keep moving forward. The “I didn’t see that coming” shock coupled with the extraordinary pain makes recovering from a loss a long process. There will always be a part of you that wants to give up and stay in that moment; to grieve the loss forever and never move forward. It takes courage and resiliency to pull up your bootstraps and begin to live again after losing someone or something dear to you.
Losing your husband to prison is not the same as losing someone to death.
And yet, it still causes unimaginable pain. You can never be prepared for the impact that your husband getting locked up will have on your life. Being unprepared to battle for your future will knock you down, or maybe even knock you out. The ambush of your life as you know it can leave you feeling confused, disoriented, and angry. Yes, that is normal. Go ahead, cry, complain, scream at your pillow for a little while. But, then, you have to get back up and get back into the game.
Here are some tips to help you cope with loss and get back up:
- Talk. It is vital to recognize and acknowledge that it is affecting you. Talking about the pain you are experiencing helps you move to acceptance so you can continue living.
- Listen. Just as you need to identify your feelings, you must listen to the experience of others in your family who are affected. The pain of losing your spouse to prison is different than the pain of losing your father, son, brother, etc. Also, listen to others who have overcome the same situation and learn from their experience.
- Schedule. As soon as you are able, get your family back on a regular schedule. Getting back to a plan is a challenge because your pain wants you to stop right where you are and abandon life. When you get back to the business of living, it creates a place of security for your family and helps you continue to walk out your healing.
- Dream. Create a Dream Board to help you develop and work toward small and big goals. Seeing a clear vision will help keep you focused on building a positive, healthy future for yourself and your family.
I am rooting for you!