Taking up life after severe loss….

by Rod Smith

“Thank you for your column that appeared 18 June 2009. I have been feeling particularly sorry for myself after the death of my wife 18 months ago. The added responsibility of bringing up a family on my own and holding down my job has made me feel this way. I guess it is just time to grow up and get over myself at my age? You are so right. I am the only person who can change my life!”

This letter makes it worth it.

This letter makes it worth it.

It is your letter that makes the hours I sit at this computer worthwhile. Yes. It is deeply sad that your wife will die at any age, especially at a young age. Yes, it is deeply difficult to simultaneously rear children, hold down a job, and mourn great loss. Metaphorically speaking you have been hit by several buses and have much reason to feel sorry for yourself. But, it will probably not be helpful to you to remain in a condition of feeling sorry for yourself. Of course grief is absolutely necessary and appropriate. Dwelling the rest of your life in a state of grief will certainly not be helpful to you, your children, to the memory of your wife, or to anyone with whom you work.

7 Comments to “Taking up life after severe loss….”

  1. Dear Rod,

    I read with interest your feelings, the same feelings I still have over 5 years after the sudden and tragic loss of my fiance, and expect I will always have. I believe that it has nothing to do with growing up and/or getting over yourself. A major part of your life has changed, as did mine, and when I feel like having a pity party, I allow myself to do so. We cannot just ignore the longings of our soul and the more you indulge yourself/soul, the more you will grow and strengthen, and the fewer pity parties you will feel like having. We must honor our soul and partner with our soul and it will never let us down.

  2. Dear Judy:

    I never said a single word about my feelings. I told the reader what I think. These are very different. It seems you have found a very functional way of dealing with your loss.

    You show that it is possible to thrive even after something so powerful has made a significant shift in your life.


  3. Hi Rod,
    I was replying to the initial post in italics and realized later that “Rod” didn’t write that. Sorry for the misunderstanding. You hit the bullseye in seeing that I have found a way to thrive after the initial process of surviving, as that is the basis for my newly created blog http://thealchemyofpain.blogspot.com. Nice to meet you 🙂

  4. Dear Judy:

    Thanks. I have added you to my links. Congratulations on reaching out through your blog. Please look at the initial column to which the reader refers. It ran in the newspapers 6/18/09 but it appears on the website entitled “Take up your life” —

    Have a wonderful day,


  5. Thanks for adding my link – you are the first to do so since I created it on Wednesday and it is very exciting to this ‘newbie’! Is this the article you are speaking about:
    Take up your life
    Your problems cannot be “solved” or “fixed” by reading this or any column. In fact, they will not be “fixed” even if you read this column, watch Dr. Phil daily and visit a therapist on a weekly basis. These would be, at best, helpful catalysts. At worst, you’d be wasting a lot of time and using yet another means to avoid facing your issues, etc., etc.?

  6. Dear Reader:

    Pulling oneself up “by the bootstraps” is hard to do in the midst of so much loss. It’s even harder to do when it strikes the very core of who we are and what we value. But love is stronger than death. Faith, hope, and love – the greatest of these is love. It doesn’t die at death. It lives in the power of memories, of wedding days, children, family times, and the process of growth and change. Be your own best friend and be kind to yourself.

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