Losing a loved one has opened my eyes to some beautiful lessons of the universe. Though there’s so much fear and pain and suffering that goes along with loss, there’s a lot of love and hope to be rekindled in the process. Perhaps on the deepest level, nothing has truly been lost at all…
“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart. I’ll stay there forever.” — Winnie the Pooh
This is an ode to my brother and my father, who both have passed on, as well as to everyone who has ever loved and lost. My heart is with you.
11 Lessons Learned from Losing a Loved One
1. Life goes on.
As Robert Frost once wrote, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” This one really hurts in the beginning, and I’m not sure if the sting ever does really go away. It’s a fact of life that can be hard to accept when someone we love leaves this world as we see it.
Sometimes life moves too fast when we long for the past.
Though time stops for us, and we wish the world would stop, life never stops moving and evolving. You will again find yourself moving with it, but you must do that in your own time, in your own way. With time and support and faith, it’ll become a blessing within blessings.
One of the blessings is that you can carry around your love for this person everywhere you go.
2. Cherish the simple things.
Life is meant to be lived, deeply felt, and thoroughly enjoyed. The love we feel for others isn’t meant to be concealed, so leave no loving words unspoken. Really look into the eyes of the person you love. Embrace their truth without needing to change who they are.
Make every moment last longer by fixing your gaze upon it and holding it in your mind.The moments we take for granted are the moments that deserve our gratitude. Click To Tweet
We have little control over the majority of external circumstances, but we can absolutely fashion our internal responses to match the heartbeat of peace, joy, and love.
We can savor what’s right in front of us, we can learn to be thankful for all that we have, and we can cherish the people we love who walk among us, whether in physical form or spiritual presence.
3. Life is worth living.
Life is amazing, beautiful, and absolutely worth living. Though hard to see sometimes, the awe-inspiring qualities of this world are abundant. Miracles happen frequently. There is so much to experience and so many people to learn from, so drink in your experiences and live fully, openly, and honestly.
Death and life are part of the same eternal circle. A life lived in grace, in love, and in laughter is a life worth living, and, on the same token, a life worth continuing on from.
4. I am not alone.
Death has brought with it a wider perspective; loss has taught me to adjust my sights and take in how big the world really is. There are more than 7 billion people on this planet. Whatever you’re going through right now, remember that there’s someone else in the world who understands you.
You are never alone in your thoughts, wishes, and feelings—this has always comforted me in times of heartbreaking sadness when I feel left alone.
Whether mourned as the end of mortal life or celebrated as the beginning of eternal life, death is something every single human being on earth experiences. We are here, together.
5. Love lives on.
Love is more important than anything we can accomplish in this life. Love is the only thing we get to take with us when we go, and it’s worthy of being a focal point in our lives, and in our losses.
Losing a loved one has brought me to the realization that I need to fall in love with people, not just in an intimate way, but in a human, feeling, giving and receiving kind of way. I must cherish the people in my life for who they are, and not for who I wish they were.
I can give my whole, authentic self to others without fear of not being good enough in their eyes, because I know we are all good enough in truth. I need to give myself love, too, because love isn’t something that’s meant (or able) to be kept, restrained, limited, or released on condition.
Love is what life is all about, and death held in love’s sight is not an ending, but a continuation of love.
6. Never miss an opportunity to live fully.
There is so much to experience here while it’s still our turn. The opportunities to enjoy life are nearly endless. Every second is an opportunity to change, do something nice, smile, help someone, choose love, learn, unlearn, laugh, and live like it’s the only moment that matters.
A life lived with purpose and appreciation is a beautiful life, rich in possibilities and undying love.
7. I am strong.
This has nothing to do with suppressing emotions or holding back tears. Tears are not a sign of weakness, but a show of strength.
As Brendon Burchard notes in his brilliant book, The Motivation Manifesto: “To stand emotionally open before the world and give of our hearts without fear of hurt or demand of reciprocity–this is the ultimate act of human courage.”
You don’t always have to feel strong or look strong or “stay strong,” especially when it comes to losing a loved one. The more vital task is to stay open to the beauty and the love, to stay true to yourself, and to remain hopeful in the middle of the storm.
You can always get through this, whatever “this” is, because there’s a light within that can never be dimmed.
8. I have a choice.
To quote The Motivation Manifesto once more: “In the chaos and the struggle, the next step is still of our choosing. For that, let us be thankful.”
We choose how we see the world and what we focus our gaze upon. We can choose to learn from every experience, seeing everything in life as a lesson and an opportunity for a miracle. Accepting responsibility for how one’s life unfolds is a quality of a happy life.
How we experience our experiences is largely up to us. It always has been, and it always will be.
9. There’s a lot of heaven in the world.
It’s easier to focus on the bad, the negative, and the pain of losing a loved one. It’s also okay and necessary to acknowledge how we feel about the bad, the negative, and the pain. It is not necessary or beneficial to anyone, however, to dwell in those feelings for the rest of our mortal lives.
The good news is that there is beauty all around and miracles are as abundant as ever. Loss has requested that I open my eyes to see it all, and that I open my heart to experience it all.
10. There is no other way.
I completely understand the resistance many feel toward this common phrase: “Everything happens for a reason.” When we think about the sadness, poverty, violence, and disaster that exists in the world, it’s difficult to imagine this is the way things should be.
Yet regardless of what happens around you or to you, there really is no other way things “could have been” or “should have been.” This is the way life unfolded, and so this is the only way life could have or should have unfolded. To believe otherwise is to linger in the darkness, to make what is wrong, and that is a choice.
Thinking that life should be different does not change the past; it only clouds your vision of what’s right in front of you.My past and my future depends on today. — Tevor Hall Click To Tweet
By accepting life as it is, we are more capable of healing the past and creating a future that more closely resembles the peace we long for.
11. Maybe nothing is really lost.
I believe that love is the one thing we get to take with us when we pass. It’s a belief that has only served me since losing a loved one. I highly recommend believing in the everlasting qualities of love, for the sake of any morsel of peace and happiness.The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity. – Seneca Click To Tweet
Who do you love? What do you love doing or creating? Who or what brings you joy and laughter and ease? Make this the focus of your life. Live in love. Let your thoughts, words, and actions stem from a place of love.
Nothing done in love can be erased, so keep reminding yourself that relationships based in love, and which deepen your connection to the presence of love, cannot really be taken away from you. You will always have this love with you.
Keep your knowledge of love alive in your heart, and your connection to all you love will walk alongside you always.
Please share your thoughts, lessons learned from losing a loved one, healing words, or inspiring stories with me in the comments.
Share this post with someone you care about.
Let the love live on through you.