Stress blog

Dealing with loss

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. January 18, 2012

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  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
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  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

Although the comments posted are each different, a recurrent is theme is that of dealing with loss — the loss of a dream, the loss of a relationship, the loss of an opportunity, the loss of health and peace.

How do we deal with life's losses and move forward? People far wiser than I am say that we never do get back to normal. There's a time of confusion and uncertainty that then merges into a new normal. The longing, disappointment and regret are there, but they become less palpable with time. Let me share with you an example.

A colleague suffered the tragic loss of his daughter about 20 years ago. At odd times, even today, he finds himself going into a funk. He's struck by a profound sadness over what will never be. He will never walk his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. He will never be a grandfather. He acknowledges that overall his life is good, and the good days outweigh the bad. But out of the blue, he's reminded of the loss by a song, a meal or a comment by a colleague.

So somehow we do heal, but every healing leaves a scar. We must remember that healing is a journey, not a destination or a point in time. It's an evolving process that is never completely over. Idle words or can you relate to some of these observations? Please weigh in.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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26 Comments Posted

Jan. 18, 2012