October 18, 2020

The difference between loss and losing it

This week my 96 year old grandmother passed. She had been in hospice for a bit — we knew the news was coming. But there is always a tiny part of us that is shaken when the call finally comes. 

She had been in a nursing home for the past several years and the pandemic brought challenges we could not have anticipated. She was there during extended lockdown periods, closeted inside her room, with no company and unable to even join her neighbors for a shared dinner and conversation. She was nearly blind and fell several times. Truly, what was at one point her sanctuary became like a prison for her. 

Nothing like forced isolation to reveal just how much we need each other and our community, just how much we need human connection and interaction. Is there sanctuary in togetherness? What we have learned is YES. 

There is a funny thing that happens to me when loss touches my life. I wonder if you experience something similar? It shifts my perspective in a blink and all of the sudden, many things that seemed important don’t appear quite as weighty. For example, I realized that gaining a few pounds during the last few months isn’t really something I need to obsess over. Nor is my stress that I haven’t finished some of my maintenance projects at home. Does it really matter that much? No. On the other hand, I also realized that being gentle with myself and giving myself a bit of extra time for just being is more important than ever. 

My mind has been full of thoughts about her life, and all of our lives. What they mean. Wondering why we obsess about meaningless things. Wondering why we lose is so easily? And asking questions like why is it so easy to slip into a state where we take everything for granted? Why do we stop appreciating the millions of little gifts and miracles that make up every single day? I don’t really know the answer to this but I would like to understand. If for no other reason than to stop doing that and operate out of a place of genuine, profound gratitude and wonder. 

It occurs to me that when we stop appreciating our lives, each other, and the millions of tiny blessings we receive, we become disconnected. We become hardened. We become brittle. The more brittle we are, the more fragile we become. The more fragile we are, the more likely we are to reach a breaking point. So perhaps this form of experiencing gratitude and wonder is part of the secret to real, lasting resilience. Maybe this is how we stay flexible, supple, and strong.  

So my thought for today is this: Gratitude, you are welcome here. My sanctuary has a place especially for you. I am fluffing up the comfiest chair in my space and putting a soft throw over the arm. Come, stay awhile. Let me make us some tea and we can talk about all of the gifts you bring. 

How do you deal with loss? How do you keep from losing it? I’d love to hear. Send me a message or reply below.

With love and appreciation,

Lisa

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