I’m beginning my work on a new book (not sure yet if it will be adult fiction or non-fiction). The theme: an exploration of how some people manage to respond to debilitating loss in exemplary ways. Because, throughout life, we are subject to many losses, how can we use the experience in a positive way? We may lose:
- a parent or other precious family member
- an opportunity
- our peace of mind
- our sense of community
- something into which we have put tremendous physical/creative effort
- the love of our life
- our best friend
- our job
- a physical or mental ability (due to illness or injury)
- our home
- our reputation
- our fortune
- our confidence
- our way
What happens after we suffer a major loss? Some people feel the pain so intensely they carry a permanent wound that limits them in the way widowhood limited my mother. For decades her suffering prevented her from fully reconnecting with the joy and creative force of life. Maybe you know someone like that. It is sad. I do not believe it is necessary.
When we experience a loss it is normal and healthy to grieve. It is also normal and healthy to heal. But how do we begin that process? That’s what this book is going to be about. We each have within us a breakable heart and spirt. We also have within us, the resilience needed to rebound and rebuild. If we can find ways to move beyond our suffering, loss can be fertile ground for positive transformation. We can become stronger in every sense of the word. We can develop greater compassion. We can forge the tools and the will to help others who are suffering from losses of their own.
The journey from loss to a new level of wholeness can be extremely challenging. Subsequent (lesser) losses may set us back. Which is why many of us do not fully recover from a major loss. But there are many people among us who’ve successfully made that transition. Gabby Gifford, Tammy Duckworth, are two women who immediately come to mind. There are many others who’ve achieved national and international recognition for their courage in the face of loss. There are also people in every community who have found their own path that has taken them beyond their losses to a new level of peace of mind and purpose. This book will explore some of the many ways people have transformed their lives after loss and how each of us can use the example of their lives to transform our own.
I would be very honored to hear from anyone who has successfully managed to transition out of a major loss (or from anyone who is currently in the process of doing so). If you know someone whose journey from loss has inspired you, I’d love to hear about it.
Please post your comments and we can learn together. I’m sure my exploration of this topic and the book that grows from it will benefit greatly from your input.