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Losses and Learning

August 11th, 2009 by judytalks

Is there anyone who hasn’t been affected by the economic crisis? Loss seems to be the criteria for evaluating our lives right now. The pain and frustration of losing your home, your job, or your retirement funds is real, and the aftermath of these losses will last a very long time.
What is the usual response to the national recession? Personally, I feel angry because I think much of it could be prevented. But it’s too late for prevention. Now there’s only “endure and recover.”
My family has been broadsided with job losses and bankruptcies. It’s small comfort to argue that everyone’s in the same boat. Yes, it’s a very large boat, but the real question is, “Who will survive and how?”
Letting go is difficult. Despite the fact that moving forward is the only sensible option, we often hang on to feelings that prevent that very forward motion.
We feel victimized, we’d like revenge or an apology from those we blame. Maybe we’ll get some of those things. Probably not much satisfaction though. Is it OK? No. Do we still have to look where we’re going instead of where we’ve been? Yes. When you’re looking back, you run into obstacles. You don’t need more pain.
As I write this, I’m awaiting the publication of my book about this very subject, except that it’s entirely about children and the loss of a parent. Learning to let go in order to heal and move forward is essential to their wellbeing, now and throughout their lives. In reality, it’s essential to all of us.
What can we learn? Write down what may have happened to you, how you feel, and what you’re planning to do about it. As a writer, I write down everything – my intentions, goals, needs, daily to do list. Others have told me that when they write things down, it’s more likely to happen, even if it seems impractical. A study at the U. of Pennsylvania concluded that people who journal in early grief recovered sooner and better than those who did not. Writing engages the brain and “puts it on paper.” It makes you accountable to your own wellbeing. Try it. That big boat won’t float around forever. When it docks, you’ll have a game plan.
Here’s to good sailing.
Judy

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