a Loved One? - Poignant Prelude to Memorial Day
by B. Lee Coyne, M.S.W.
Have you ever lost a loved one? I have, and it hurts in ways many of us already know. With another Memorial Day soon to arrive, it's time to ask the burning question: Are
we truly prepared? Many of us do get caught flat-footed.
We have that temptation to avoid unpleasant things. We wish to ourselves: If we do not dwell on them, they just might go away. That is called "magical thinking" and it rarely comes to pass. Whom are we fooling...but ourselves?
Indeed, all of life involves trade-off of gain and loss. But as we age, we tend to focus more on the "loss" part. If we get fixated on that, we cook our own proverbial goose.
Death represents transition. We need to recognize that stagnancy can mistaken for "security". How many of us fall into that mirage? It's a made-to-order TRAP!
Whenever a loved one leaves us, it's also an opportunity to: (a) take stock of who we really are, and (b) decide for ourselves where we are heading. If the answer comes up discomforting, we need to find the courage to change course.
Sometimes we have climbed into a cozy cocoon. It's called Co-dependency. We have
really taken our old navel cord and attached it to our mate in place of our mother. In
so doing, we find our nurture needs met but...we also foster a looming crisis. For if
we choose to get caught up in dependency, than loss of spouse means devastation.
And the alternative? Find a niche you like outside the family. Try on a whole host of hats to wear, connections to make. Don't allow a solo social role to rule your very soul.
Develop outside hobbies and affiliations. Only then will you be properly prepared for
that day of being a widow or widower.
Yes, the loss shall still hurt but not as much. You shall emerge as a stronger person with fuller potential. You need not bury yourself in the grave of your own making.
Like the Phoenix Bird of ancient myth, we can each rise from those ashes, and find
a new flight path before the angels call us home one day.
About the Writer: Lee Coyne is a long-time
tamer of bothersome stress and depression and runs the Coping
Clinic of Salem. He also sees people privately at the Salem
Senior Center. For more details, call (503) 365-7533.
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