Endings are all around me right now in this season of life.
As I sit here typing and gazing out the window, the vibrant yellow leaves are almost all but gone, leaving behind tall grey skeletons, the green hues of the grass have given way to brown, the grain fields are finally getting bear from the continuing harvest (thank goodness!) And most days is no longer just crisp outside – it’s getting cold!
Not only is summer is completely over, autumn is almost done too…..….
Another ending has been that of my 9 year career with UTV Canada, a company founded by my parents with whom my sister and I became partners with. (It’s all good, my sister bought all our shares and she is going to take that company places way beyond our imaginations. And we all still love each other and have lovely family dinners together!)
Regardless of how “good” endings are – they are still hard. Saying goodbye is hard. Whether it’s goodbye to beloved season (hello summer…were you ever really there?), a company that you have helped build, a pet, a relationship or people you love.
Saying goodbye to summer and autumn, well, it sucks. But, it’s not catastrophic. A career or a pet, now that hits a little harder, wouldn’t you agree? But someone you love – that can be inconceivable.
Although these events can lie far apart on a continuum of difficulty, there are some universal lessons and a balm for the soul that can be applied just the same.
Let me share with you how I have honored my endings in this season of my life and how they might apply to your endings, whether it may be death or another kind of loss.
I have acknowledged the loss/ending of my previous career by first taking stock of all of the great experiences, lessons, emotions and relationships that I have gained as a result of this opportunity. I did this through quiet reflection and journaling.
The same lies true when we experience the loss of a person. Take stock of your losses. Journal about what you will miss most about them, all that you appreciated and were grateful for and maybe even the things you won’t miss. Immerse yourself in the memories. Feel the joy. Feel the pain.
The next step is to honor the feelings that you are experiencing. As my career was ending I let myself experience my emotions fully. I allowed myself to feel the sadness. Allowed myself to cry when I felt like crying. I also relished in the joy of the memories of fun times, great accomplishments and exceptional relationships.
Same is true when someone we love has died. Honor your feelings of joy, pain, disillusionment, whatever it looks like for you. Feel them fully and write it down.
Emotions are POWERFUL, especially when we give into them fully as I just recommended. As we surrender ourselves to these emotions – allow yourself grace, love and understanding. What I mean by that is, set aside your expectations of yourself and even more importantly, others expectations of you.
As my previous career was ending, I needed to show myself grace when I wasn’t able to meet the expectations I had laid out for myself. Some days were easier than others to show myself grace. As in with the loss of a loved one, it’s ok if you don’t want to go out sometimes, you want to stay in your pyjamas all day, are angry with others that still have their loved one or have wine and a bag of potato chips for supper. As long as these aren’t your default coping mechanisms day in and day out for months – they are just fine! Allow yourself grace.
By signify, I mean do something symbolic to acknowledge and honor what once was. For the ending of my motorsports career I told my family that I was not cooking supper on my last day. I brought home a meal and then we played board games. (The kids only do this with me on special occasions, lol!) Later that week, we also had a lovely evening out with my parents, my sister and our spouses to celebrate the end of an era with the family business.
For those that have experienced other more profound losses, this could look like a regular coffee date with someone whom you could reminisce with about your loved one, snuggle time with a garment that reminds you of that person, lighting a candle when the grief is especially hard, writing notes to them or setting an empty place setting on holidays. (or any time for that matter)
Another personal example of how I signified a loss was when my Granny died. When we were pouring over the photo albums after her passing it became very clear that red was her signature color. It was completely unplanned, but there were a number of us that included a red garment in our attire the day of her funeral. (Even if they were undergarments…..lol!) I will continue to wear red to honor her and her memory, whether it’s on her birthday or other occasions when her presence is greatly missed.
Every life experience that we have, shapes us in some way. However, throughout life we have these “big” events – and they transform us.
The loss of a loved one definitely qualifies as a “big” event. And, just as those that have died become transformed, those of us left behind, are too transformed.
The fog, the anger, the chaos, the pain that comes with loss…….. You can stay with those feelings and allow them to consume you. And you will be transformed.
Or you can, little by little, work your way through the fog, the anger, the chaos and the pain using the steps I’ve outlined above. You also, will be transformed. But it will be a different transformation than if you are stuck and consumed. For those fresh with loss, this may seem incomprehensible, and that’s ok. Some days, moving forward will seem incomprehensible. But some days, you will see glimmers of hope. Hang onto them and keep working through the fog.
If you only ever experience the fog, pain and anger and are feeling “stuck”, courageously reach out to me and I can help you find joy and hope again. Book a free, no obligation discovery call to find out how I have helped others through the grieving process.
Transformations can take a long time, have several iterations and may truly never be finished. The most important step is to be open to it and intentional about it. Reach out today and take the first step in your positive transformation. Or, sign up for free support and encouragement delivered straight to your inbox.
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