My mother always said, “Something good comes out of everything.” She admitted that it might be hard to see the good in the midst of a devastating experience, but she assured me that there is a silver lining somewhere. She gave my father’s death as an example. She always claimed that despite the debilitating loss, our immediate family developed and shared an intimate closeness. She made her point and I’m very grateful that the closeness remains to this day.
Despite my mother’s assurance, this is a tough concept to sell. When it comes to death and the loss of a loved one, it’s more than challenging to find a silver lining when you are deep in grief.
I don’t believe that you can “find something good” in a death. I think you have to go through the full range of emotions to allow yourself to fully mourn a loss. And over time, when you have learned to live your life within an altered context, you just might be able to see your life from a different perspective.
Years ago, it was hard for me to imagine a life without my parents. But in death, as in life, my parents gave me gifts. In mourning their deaths and grieving my loss, I’ve come to understand the fragility of life. I now know that there are no guarantees. We are given a day and once that day is over, it’s done. We don’t ever get the time back.
It is only through my losses that I’ve learned to live in the present and appreciate the everyday moments. I don’t pass up an opportunity, falsely assuming there will always be another chance. I’ve learned to spend my time on what matters most and to forgo anything that doesn’t. I scrutinize my schedule, my commitments, and my relationships. I’ve learned to live as authentically as possible, making the most of each and every day.
So maybe my mom had the right idea all along; something good does come out of every life experience. Sometimes you just have to really look for it.
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.