Saturday morning I was flipping stations on Sirius radio when I discovered a conversation discussing a book about grief. Amy Welborn’s husband had died from a heart attack and she subsequently wrote, Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope.
I didn’t hear anything earth shattering in the conversation until she said that she believes this life, the one we are experiencing here on earth, is “incomplete” because we experience so much loss in this life. Welborn writes from a Catholic perspective. I too am Catholic and I thought about Welborn's comment as I went through the day. What I kept coming back to is the idea that life is incomplete only if we choose to view it that way. And I refuse to see life as incomplete.
Yes, life is unfair because we experience loss, losses that take people from our lives much too soon. Despite the many losses in my life though, I won’t let them define my life as incomplete. My family members who have died are still with me. As I often say, the bond has changed but hasn't broken. I know they are guiding me and cheering me on as I continue to navigate life. I can still laugh and see hope in the future.
To see life as incomplete is to say that life is miserable and in some sense not worth living. I believe just the opposite. While I don’t like that my life has been filled with loss, I can’t change what has happened to me. What I can change is how I react to it. And I refuse to miss out on the completeness of it.
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about finding hope after loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Si..., inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.
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