Wednesday, June 29, 2022

LESSONs LEARNED: From Loss and Major Surgeries

Losing my father and both my fathers-in-law in less than two years and having two major surgeries in that same amount of time has made for some interesting exchanges and experiences...and a lot of loss.

While I am grateful for the time I had with them and for my good health, as well as for people caring about me during these losses, there are a few lessons learned, including:

  • During the time people are living, meet and appreciate them for where they are and who they are so that you can enjoy the time together without false expectations or disappointments. Memories are what you have remaining in the end!
  • When others have lost loved ones, do not say things like "Let me know what I can do" or "I can't imagine losing my father", "I am just like you, a daddy's girl", or "What happened?" as you wait for an answer, as each of these comments/inquiries is all about you and not about the grieving person. Similarly, when others have had surgery,  do not say things like "Let me know what I can do" or "What happened?" or "How are you?" as you wait for an answer, as each of these comments/inquiries is all about you feeling better about yourself or simply getting the gossip to spread. It's not productive and kind.
  • When others have lost loved ones, or had major surgery, do say things like "Thinking of you", "Sending good vibes", and "Praying for you", "You are on my mind" in written or verbal words (cards still are wonderful) since those comments require no responses and the person knows they are on their mind. Watch oversharing about your experience in order to be sincerely connected to your friend, family, or colleague because they are likely drained, and supporting you and your story does not feed their energy, it zaps it even more.
  • Unless you are really close, consider sending a text over making a call, as there are emotional moments, hours, and days. And, in the message, resist asking questions or saying "Call me back", as that feels like a to-do for the griever/healer.
  • If the grieving or healing person asks you to do something, do it. Don't ignore it or make it seem burdened. Offering to deliver a meal or walk with the person to heal and then going dark is not only careless, it is more damaging than not reaching out at all. Similarly, if you reach out a long time after the incident of loss or surgery, don't ramble on excusing your lack of presence, simply be there now.
  • Whatever information you gain from these exchanges, keep that to yourself, as if you chat that up, you are simply gossiping! Privacy and respect do not go out the window simply because you have a chance to share details. Have discretion by saying something like "Respecting I got to speak with her, I'll let her know you asked about her".
  • Be aware that we are grateful for people wanting to connect and that having people with whom you can connect is important and part of the ecosystem of life, and also that emotions and timing play a part in the process too...and the timing that is to be respected most is that of the griever or healer.

While I have and remain appreciative of people looking out for me, I hope this is useful for real connection at times of loss or change due to surgery. After all, death happens. Surgeries get scheduled or are urgent and occur. Still, when these take place, we can be kind and aware while assisting people to move through their experiences with grace and support.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Difference in Getting Over & Getting Through Something

"The only way out is through."
~ Robert Frost,  in the poem A Servant to Servants

While life is filled with disappointments, detours, drop-offs, and distractions, it is also filled with excitement, plans, paths, and satisfaction!

Likely you'll agree that it seems/feels that most people want us to let go, move on, and/or get over whatever has us in the space that isn't ideal.

No, it is not that our friends, family, and colleagues don't want the best for us, it is, though, appealing, and even idealistic to paint a picture of whatever isn't great being gone.

And, yes, movement is important in order to advance.

So how do you move, and do move well for you?

Quite simply, think about getting through something rather than letting go or getting over it!

While that earworm of a song from the movie Frozen is popular in tune and concept, to "let it go" implies there is a hold and it magically can be released.

Getting over something is not desirable, as you would have to climb up, likely revel in a false sense of "betterment" and then get back down, and that is a lot of activity (versus movement) surrounding a person or situation!

In order to move through something, it's about being present and accepting where you are, determining what got you there, or what didn't happen that got you there. In other words, when you move through an experience, it includes ownership of your part(s). There's no room for blame or nastiness, rather a lot of room for reflection and growth.

Moving through includes putting the experience that was unfortunate or untimely in perspective in order to avoid a similar happenstance in the future.

Moving through is the way to advance and not avoid or ignore what has occurred. This way, you take that experience with you and you also get to blossom, be different and be stronger as a result!

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