Thursday, October 13, 2016

Life After Loss

We must learn to live differently, to live life without.
by Danetta Kellar

Long ago when we moved to Africa, one of the first lessons we learned was that our schedule, the way we used to execute our tasks in bullet-point style, perfect to-do lists, was obsolete. Life moved slowly in Africa. We didn’t know how to communicate. We looked at people as they talked and just heard sounds coming from their mouths, not understanding a word. We were not sure what to eat or if we even wanted to. We were lonely and tired. 

We learned eventually to live life differently. 

We learned to set one simple goal per day, and rejoice when it was accomplished. Write a letter. Walk across the road and talk to your neighbor. Cook oatmeal over the fire.

Life after loss is much like moving to a foreign country. 

Everything takes longer. We don’t know how to communicate. We are no longer efficient, and our old way of doing things seems obsolete, of another time and place. We stare at people as they talk to us and it seems they are speaking another language we don’t understand. We don’t want to eat and we are exhausted. 

We are learning to live life differently, to live life without.

We must learn to do things differently, to find different solutions to common tasks. 

We must accept a different pace of life, one in which we cannot accomplish all in a day we once could Before. We must set small goals, and celebrate each one’s completion. Do the next thing that is clear. Get out of bed. Take a shower. Get dressed. Go to work.

We must depend on others and allow them to help us.

Life without the one we love is not easy. Grief breaks us and leaves us longing for the place we left behind. The empty space our loved one left reminds us nothing will ever be the same again.

Like moving to a foreign country, I wonder if life after loss will also be a process of new discovery. 

In Africa we slowly began to learn a new language. We developed new friendships and found strength in ourselves we had not before needed. We discovered that we could do things we never considered Before.

I will watch in hope for this discovery process. But right now, I am still new to this country of Loss.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

I have been clinging to that verse the past ten days. Gripping the promise that Christ Himself is on His way to restore us, make us strong, firm and steadfast. I have heard His footsteps in the comfort of loved ones, felt His embrace in the arms of friends. I know He will do what He has promised. We will find our way in this new country, in time.

Have you lost a loved one? How did you learn to live in the new normal?


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