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When Life Gives Us No Response

I ended my last post with this thought: What I know now is that we do have a say in how our life is going to go. We can survive grief and hardship. We can learn how to thrive again. These are life transforming moments. If we bring all the transformational learning and teaching to good account, we can mindfully design the subsequent phases of our lives.

Soon after I posted, I was again confronted with the terror of loss. My wonderful partner left my home early in the morning in order to make it to his 7:20 am golf game. I went back to sleep and awoke about an hour and a half later. I texted him. He did not respond. As time passed by, I grew concerned. I called his cell phone and land line. No response. Memories of my late husband’s sudden death began to surface. When he died 10 years ago, I had left our home in Santa Barbara early in the morning for an overnight meeting in San Diego. I arrived in San Diego around noon and called Roy. There was no response. Within a few hours, I learned from authorities that he was found dead in our home.

So here I am 10 years later believing I had successfully worked through the grief of that traumatic loss. And yet I am flooded by memories. All of the feelings of my late husband’s death resurfaced and were triggered by my current partner’s lack of response. Fortunately my fears were unfounded. Greg had returned home and decided to charge his phone while he changed clothes. In a hurry, he forgot to grab the phone on his way out to the golf course.

What I realize is that it takes incredible courage to love again in the aftermath of loss. What is at stake to love again? And
what do we receive when we risk? I believe what is at stake is the potential joy and delight that can arrive in our lives by loving and being loved by another. We must be vulnerable in order to open ourselves to love. That takes a great deal of faith and courage. Although we have very little control in life, we can choose how we will respond to loss.

When one experiences a traumatic loss, it takes a long time to recover. And even when we have recovered, the painful memories return again and again. When those memories arise, we can tell ourselves “thank you for reminding me of what I had, what I lost, and what I now have.” When we take the risk to love again after loss, we receive the gift of life.