Lessons of Loss – Moving in a New Direction
By: Cindy Adams
Life in my young thirties was wonderful. I was working in the school system when my youngest daughter started kindergarten. I was a happy wife and a joyful mother. Life couldn’t get better. My husband was a wonderful spouse and father. We had the American dream of having two children, a dog, living in a single family home with a fenced in backyard and swimming pool. We had fantastic neighbors and friends, and a good church family. What more could I ask for?
So what did I do when my life fell apart? My husband went into the hospital with pneumonia, and three weeks later he died. Let me also mention that our Doberman, 9 years old, died the first weekend that my husband was in the hospital, from what appeared as a heart attack. I felt as if I was living in a dream world. Or should I say nightmare! Shock and numbness overcame me. I felt nothing. It took almost a month before I could cry.
Of course when I came out my fog and reality hit, it was downhill for quite a while. I entered the unknown and crazy world of widowhood. It was a grief journey that changed my life. For me, when I realized I could no longer do it on my own, I grabbed onto my faith. It then became more of a spiritual journey of walking by faith. My dreams and goals had been destroyed, so the only way I found peace was to surrender to God and allow him to guide me through to find joy again.
Through my grief journey, I started to understand, that life is not always about me. Life is not that perfect picture of a mom, dad, two children, a pet or two that are living in a single family dwelling. People are broken in this world and they need help. As I began to heal from the love of God, my family and friends, I began to see more clearly that I had a stronger purpose in this world. I had a desire to pursue an education and be able to help others that were hurting.
I believe God gave me the strength and guidance to make my new dreams and goals come true. When I started my first college course at the age of 37, it took me 13 years to complete my master’s degree in social work. So at the age of “50”, I have my LMSW degree and now work as a medical social worker. This has given me more purpose by helping others which in turn has helped in my healing. My loss had transformed my life in a totally different direction.
I’m not saying that I’m glad my husband died so I could pursue a new career with purpose. I was totally content and happy with my previous life of being a wife. But once it happened, and my dreams were shattered, I had to pick up the pieces and somehow make a new life. I believe that’s where we draw upon our strengths and talents that God has given us. We all can’t be social workers, but we can reach out to others the best way we know how. And in the process, we may find that it helps us in our own healing and finding purpose from our loss.
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