Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Lessons Learned from Loss


On Friday, February 26, 2021, after our 2021 American Heart Association Go Red for Women Lunch-In virtual event, I said hello to my husband as I picked up Michael from Tampa General Hospital after he recovered for a couple of days after his transplant donation surgery.

Later that day, a call came through to me that my father's heart rate had dropped into the 20s.

While Michael progressed each day, my father received a pacemaker through a cardiologist near where he lived, and unfortunately, did not progress each day, and on Monday, April 12th, at TGH, under excellent, attentive care, we said goodbye to him as he took his last breaths.

Over the past year, Michael and I have had two dear friends lose their young sons, we have both lost our fathers, and we both donated kidneys.

In attempting to process through these experiences, we hope our friends have found comfort, our dads are in heaven together laughing about how the last time the four of us golfed together at Copperhead, they did, in fact, beat us (and I am talking smoked us on the links) for the first time, and, we hope the two people who now have a new lease on life with their third kidneys make the most of every moment.

Life isn't always what we anticipate, and yet life is filled with memories and opportunities to participate in it, and yes, even in challenging times, embrace it. 

May all of us feel that way as we recall what was likely a memorable year in its own way for each of us. Some lessons learned from loss include:
  1. Be grateful for what we have or had versus hateful for what we don't have or lost.
  2. When someone dies, share condolences and yet do NOT ask "What happened?" or if someone shares a loss with you that impacts you, too, be mindful not to dump your grief on that person.
  3. If someone is grieving, however that grief happens is theirs, and it is right and best for them.
  4. If someone shares a "Sorry for your loss" with you when you have a loved one who passed, and they knew that person, too, say "Thank you, and sorry for your loss, too", as they lost someone as well.
  5. It's never too late to share your condolences...not ever...just don't apologize for the timing and make it about you - let it stay about the loss and your support.
  6. Whatever you have lost is not the same as what another has lost. You can sympathize and empathize, yet nobody ever understands your loss exactly, and that is okay - just let it be.
  7. Every bit of support and love, prayer, flowers, cards, and well-wish or fond memory offered is/are impactful, felt, and appreciated.

Love and loss go hand and glove with memories and smiles. Loss is loss, and yet sometimes loss leads to many moments of sharing and recalling good times...on some days, so choose to say hello to this, your next phase after loss...

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Positivity with Purpose, Please

There are "Be positive" and "Stay positive" messages abound, right? And, often, they come from me in my daily tips and workday videos. So what gives?

What is with all of this positivity?

Well, being positive for others is not being positive. That is being nice or compliant or phony.

Being positive with purpose is all about you first, and absolutely, the impact on others may follow!

What is the difference - the REAL difference?

Being positive for others keeps you quiet when you want to speak, and keeps you laughing when you want to exit the conversation. REAL positivity is about:

R - Reflecting on what you have and where you are and being appreciative of it all

E - Engaging in supportive self-talk and being your own best cheerleader

A - Approaching situations, people, problems, and opportunities with the belief that there is a solution, fix, or answer to move forward successfully

L - Leaning into growth even as there are misses and mistakes along the way

When you are a REAL positive person, you are not simply shining to get by, you are shining through and above situations with purpose. The purpose is YOU, and your well-being, centering, and success.

There is no purpose more powerful and positive than your own happiness.

This type of positive effort is from within that stretches beyond your realm and often has a good impact and lasting effect on others, too! How real is that?