Lessons We Can Learn From Loss

As I sit here about to write this newsletter, I am looking out at the trees gently moving their limbs on what is probably close to the most perfect day that the end of summer has ever seen. Feeling, of course, that Labor Day is around the corner. I ponder life, knowing how blessed I am to be able to soak in this day in the country while viewing my garden, my labor of love.

I recently got an email from a friend who wrote: “You deal with death every day, while nurturing the cycle of life. And you wear an awesome farmer’s hat to boot!!!” Yes for me, gardening and mediumship go hand-in-hand. I learn a lot about life from being a gardener, and of course doing my work as a medium. In my neck of the woods, the life cycle is reflected in the seasons: birth is spring, summer is growth, fall is harvest, and winter represents death but with the promise of new life in the future.

As I reflect on all this, I get a phone call from a friend who has lost his job. The phone call reminds me that there are many kinds of losses, and they all require a grieving period. And while any loss can cause problems, some losses may inspire us to go after something we’ve wanted to do our whole life, reflecting the beauty of change, and the change of seasons. That is an upside!

In contrast, some of the changes that a loss brings are so intense that they can trigger a spiraling down to a mindset of “I’m losing everything.” Which is not so farfetched an idea. People do lose their jobs, then lose their homes, and end up getting divorced. But from my friend I could hear that he was doing the best he could and keeping as positive as best possible – focusing on the love of his children.

I’ve had many of deep talks with my friend since he knows my work so well. During our conversations, he is reminded that nothing could be more devastating than losing a child. Not having suffered through that experience, he recognizes the need to count his blessings and pick himself up. He recognized his losses as material, which was a step in the right direction.

As with any loss, it’s important to let go, and eventually move on, and my friend has begun that part of the process. I feel such respect for the man who recognized that all of what he could lose was material, and could be replaced.

We all have a path to walk. For those of us with friends who find themselves on a difficult road, we can offer a listener’s ear when needed. Do let those we care about know that they’re not alone. Ask if there is anything we can we do to help them in some way or another.

Over the years, I’ve had the very distinct privilege of sharing thousands of these kinds of journeys with so many of you. I never cease to be amazed how people with deep losses and sorrows can rebound, move on, and find a healing place. As I see it, most of those who can right themselves tend to have a deep faith, and know in their hearts that there is a bigger picture than what it is they are perceiving here in the dimension of earth time.

Life is a force unto itself. Let it be a dance, with a few skips along the way!

Now, as this gardener and medium prepares for fall, I hope you too will recognize that another cycle of life is about to begin. As great as summer was, it’s important to be able to let the cycle of summer go, and transition to the autumn.

This Labor Day, as the Northeast colors prepare to emerge, I’ll continue to enjoy my labor of love with lots of harvesting still to come. And I will welcome my reconnecting with so many of you. I’ll be heading back to Tucson, Southern California, St. Louis, Chicago, Denver and Minneapolis to name a few. Hope to see many of you all along the way.

The ripple effects in the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in US history have traveled well beyond Aurora Colorado

We are all connected. A tragedy such as this is proof that though we may not know any of those who have passed personally (or their family members and friends), the experience nonetheless hits a core in all of us.

Death — especially one of this magnitude — awakens the fragility of life. Most people, even those who have a strong spiritual base, may be confronted on their faith or belief of “life after death” no matter how they define it. For many, death is their number one fear. This is the end.

I have spent over the last 35 years dealing quite literally with death, specifically with the living who have lost loved ones. Although I’m not a traditional “grief therapist “ with a PhD, MD or MSW degree, I have helped thousands connect with their loved ones who have died. And for most all of them our work together was the most significant healing that helped them with the death of their loved ones.

There is no magic wand to grief, and no one way to heal. I have helped others work through the process of grief in large seminar settings to small family sittings to intimate, private sessions. And if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that everyone grieves in their own unique time and way. However, there is one consistent experience I can say is always there with every connection. It’s that 90% “closure” never completely happens. The experience of a sense of “loss” is always there. And similarly, the experience of the shootings last week will always be there for those who experienced it. What I most hope for is that each will experience their own sense of “healing” even if the sense of “closure” will never be realized. There are no rules or magic wands that will help anyone easily get up each day, put on their socks and shoes, leave the front door and live their life like the trauma or loss never happened. The “daze” that is experience after loss can last for a while, it is unique to each individual.

So when someone says to you to “get over it, it’s time to move on,” look them square in the face, take a breath, and don’t feel guilt for where you are and how long you may need to be there. What everyone refers to as “closure” is little more than a myth. And only those who have lost can really appreciate this truth. However, if you can begin to work towards “healing” and opening your heart again…then a whole new life awaits you. One that may never have full closure, but one that does go on and has the same possibilities of love as it’s always has. As a client of mine said in reflection of her son’s death — “there simply was the life before Justin’s death and there’s a life after.”