All of these terms have been used when asking this question. “How do you deal with loss?” I’ve been asked this many times and, being human, I’ve also had my share of heart-wrenching losses. Loss is never an easy thing. Whether we lose a game or a competition, a favorite or dear possession, or – the worse loss of all – a loved one… it is never easy. In fact it hurts like hell!!
Loss effects us in so many ways and each loss is different. There are obviously levels of loss depending on what is lost. Losing your favorite ball cap is obviously different than losing your grandpa. Losing the love of your life hurts much more than losing your job.
You get the point…LOSING ANYTHING SUCKS BIG TIME! The fact is that, like it or not, we live in a finite world. There are only so many things to go around and all living organisms will die. In today’s busy society, people ebb and flow constantly and come into our lives and go out of them just as fast. Loss is inevitable and will occur on a regular basis – that’s the cycle of life… how we cope with loss is extremely important in order to be a fully-functional and healthy human being.
Although, like I mentioned, losing “things” sucks and sometimes hurts when it is something near and dear to our hearts; the loss of a person in our lives is probably the worst type of loss. It’s that kind of loss that I am asked about frequently and that kind of loss that we’ve all experienced so I will talk about that kind of loss here.
One day a person is in your life…the other they are not. Perhaps it’s a loved one who has died. This is a very difficult loss in that the person’s life here on Earth has come to a close and there is nothing you can do to bring them back. Although a death of a loved one is difficult, most people realize death is inevitable in all of us and within their own time and within their own way heal their emotions and come to some sort of understanding and way to cope with the biological death of a loved one.
This is a phenomenon that happens more and more in today’s world. Given that people come in and out of our lives either in the physical realm or in the virtual realm, it is easy to see how someone can be “here” today and literally “gone” tomorrow! Our world is fast-paced and people now move around constantly for a variety of reasons. We meet people at work, at functions, or elsewhere and begin to establish friendships and bonds. Perhaps they move into the house next door…who knows…but a friendship and bond is established. Then one day, they get a job transfer, go off to school, or just up and move on. The friendship or bond is suddenly broken and without warning. They are gone. It’s over. The chances of you staying in touch with them after they have moved on are slim to none in all reality. We’ve all had this happen to us. We have a great neighbor or friend and then one day, their career, schooling, or other family obligations cause them to up and leave. There is an empty spot where they once were within us. Our mojo is less than full at that point.
The transient nature of our society today has caused friendships and bonds between people to also be transient and situation-dependent. Where once people knew each other their entire lives because they were place-bound; now people come in go in our lives faster than we can turn around a lot of times. I challenge you to name your co-workers or classmates from 15 years ago. If you can name them – great! If you can name them, then I simply ask you how many of those co-workers or classmates do you stay in regular (at least once a month) contact with? The vast majority of people would say that they do not stay in regular contact, if at all, with people from 15 years ago. It’s amazing how transient and how temporary our friendships and even deep-love interests have become as society has become increasingly mobile and online.
Additionally, our virtual-online world is vast and we get an email here or an instant message there from people all the time. Some times we form friendships, bonds, and perhaps more with that person just like we do in the physical world. Things are going well and those bonds are formed over the net…the online world…virtual bonds that are as strong as any in the physical world. Then one day we email or send our friend an instant message and POOF! they have vanished…never to be heard from again…never to return those emails or to send another instant message. In many ways, this vanishing is the worst of all. There is no reason, there is no contact, and you are forever left wondering what happened to the person. As with death and someone moving on in the physical world; in the virutal world or in online relationships, there is no closure. You are left hanging. Left to make up your own scenario as to why the other person will not answer your emails or answer your instant messages. In many ways, it’s the most hurtful and cruel.
DWI – Loss
Given the nature of our society and what was previously discussed, it’s important to know how to Deal With It concerning loss. Whether the loss is in the physical world or in the online virtual world, it’s important to try and focus on the positive aspects of the relationship you DID have with the person. In the case of death, countless volumes have been written on how to deal with death and grieving so I will not go into that here except to say that by focusing on the positive things you remember about the deceased, you will be able to get strength and energy knowing that they enriched your life in the time that you knew them. It’s age-old advice but it is so true – Don’t dwell on the fact that the person is dead, rather dwell on what wonderful things they contributed to life when they were living!
When it comes to dealing with loss in the virtual world, it behooves us to remember what I’ve said time and time again – each person that comes into our lives effects us and puts their unique stamp on our lives…for this we should be grateful! For every person we encounter, no matter how short of a time, is a piece to our puzzle…a tile in our mosaic…and a breath in our lives. If we look at it this way, the loss (or the poof) of a person in the virtual world, no matter how irrational or how blunt and sudden it may be, can be seen as a positive. When I say this it’s not so say that it doesn’t hurt…just like a death…it hurts…hurts badly…but as in anything, if you look at the wonderful moments that you had – be they real or be they in your mind, then you are more likely to get through the loss. Like I mentioned before in the virtual world so many people come and go and are here one minute then without explanation they vanish never to be seen again…it’s the non-closure that hurts…the non-closure that makes people sad…the non-closure that just seems down-right rude in many senses.
In essence, dealing with loss is difficult in any realm. No matter how you slice it, losing a friend, a loved one, or even just an aquaintence is always difficult. Many of you had mentioned the difficulty of losing someone and having them just vanish…poof from your life…so I hope this has helped somewhat to focus on the positves and the wonderful breath of fresh air the person or persons brought into your life in the time they were “there.” Learn from each and everyone that comes into your lives and your life will be enriched tenfold.