My mom was widowed twice by the age of 46, and she gave me some sage advice; “Life is a series of changes and you must learn to adapt to change.” At this time in my life my perspective is a bit different; I see life as a series of losses, and it’s essential that you learn to cope with those losses.

While we are most familiar in equating loss with death, we all feel loss whenever something is taken away from us. And this is an experience that occurs continually in our lives. It may be the loss of our health, a job, the death of a pet, the end of a marriage or the loss of a friendship. It can even be a radical shift in our financial circumstances.

So many of the changes in our lives are losses, and they leave a void that often is unfulfilled. The process never changes, no matter how many losses we experience. Each has its own distinction along with the pain. What they do have in common is the emptiness that follows.

Our natural response to loss is grief, and we mourn our loss; mourning is the process we go through to work through our grief and adapt to loss. We grieve for all our losses, large or small. It is through our grief work that we hope to eventually heal.  

This has been an especially hard month for me. My very dearest friend died, and she is irreplaceable. I have other loved ones, but this friend and I shared a unique history and I am mourning her death, knowing that I will always miss her and our special friendship.

At the same time, another dear friend is moving away. While we will keep in touch and she will still be a presence in my life, I will rarely see her and relationships change without the physical connection. This too is a loss, but it does not have the finality and searing pain that I have experienced while grieving for my dear friend; and yet it is a loss nonetheless.

Loss is a part of life, and while it changes us, it doesn’t necessarily defeat us. Humans are very adaptable. Our hearts do mend.  

Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store. Click here to order.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Comment by Theresa Wimann on March 24, 2014 at 12:27pm
Kind of Darwinian. Not the biggest or the fastest who survive but the ones who can adapt the quickest.

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