Lessons We Learn In Grief

This posting is being shared by my new friend Diana Sebzda, Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in issues of anticipatory grief, grief and pet loss.


When we lose someone we love, it is often our memories that sustain us and give us comfort, unless our memories are ones of regret.  How is it possible to have memories of regret?

Think about the last time we had an argument with our loved one and went to bed angry, left the house, or didn’t speak for days.  Think about how we tend to take for granted those that are closest to us.  Think about the times we may have forgotten a birthday, an anniversary or a special date that was important to our loved one.  Think about how many times we did what we wanted to do without any thought or regard to whether our loved one would be interested in doing the same thing.  Then think about hearing the news that your loved one died suddenly.

They are never coming back – they are gone forever.  Gone too are the opportunities we thought we had to make up from that argument, to say we’re sorry, to remember that special event, to ask our loved one “What would YOU like to do?”  Along with our feelings of grief and of missing them, we now have feelings of regret.  Typically when our loved ones are alive we have the time to make amends, to make things right.  What do we do when that opportunity is taken from us?

These are the lessons we learn in grief.  We learn that we have no control over the future; people die all the time, in many different ways – sometimes suddenly.  Our loved one could walk out that door to go to work and never come back.  We can’t make ourselves crazy with the “not knowing what our future holds.”  So we have to take the lessons and learn from them.  We can’t take our loved ones for granted.  We have to appreciate them every day, while they are still here.  Don’t make the same mistakes twice.  Tell our loved ones that we love them, that they matter, and that they are important to us.  Even when we’re mad at them.  We know that anger doesn’t last forever – love them “through” the anger, in spite of the anger.  Try to make each day special for them.  Hold their hand, give them a hug or a kiss, give them your time, listen to them – really listen to them.  Create loving memories that will sustain us and give us comfort, after they have gone.

Diana Sebzda, MA, LPC, CT


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