No easy steps to overcoming loss

By Amy Chan

There is no playbook to deal with the loss of a loved one. (REUTERS)

There is no playbook to deal with the loss of a loved one. (REUTERS)

Today I am going to talk about pain. Not the typical type of pain I usually discuss regarding heartaches, rejection, or blows to the ego.

No, today I’m going to talk about a different kind of pain.

It’s the pain of losing someone you love. A type of pain where you watch the ripple effect of loss impact your family, and the feeling of helplessness as you’d give the world to take that darkness away.

As you are reading this, I will be attending my grandmother’s funeral. I will watch my mother’s heart break. I will see my family weep. I will feel the pain in their hearts and, after, the resentment that will linger because things shouldn’t have ended this way. And when one feels robbed of a proper ending, what starts off as blame, turns into a poison that slowly robs your present. That worries me greatly.

As someone who has been giving advice for almost a decade, today I am at a loss for words.

Typically, I would offer the five-step solution, but with death, there’s nothing you can do to change things. You have no control over the outcome. There is nothing you can say to make the pain go away. You just have to allow life to continue. Know that there will be guilt as you do because it feels almost wrong to keep going when such a significant part is missing.

I think of the many memories that I shared with my grandmother.

The memories are vivid — her taking care of me, making me her squash soup and traditional Chinese meat loaf, and the way she’d exclaim my name as if there were 50 exclamation marks that followed.

I can relive those moments as if they were in real-time — each memory bringing my heart a feeling of joy and warmth.

And even though now she’s not here physically to create more memories with me, her spirit remains. Her ability to give unconditional love, to fight adversity, and to find laughter even when in pain — that is a strength that lives within me.

My dearest grandma, I'm grateful that I had the chance to spend quality time with you. I'm happy to look back and know that I put a smile on your face. I miss you, and I will keep missing you. Perhaps you are in heaven, perhaps you are reincarnating to another life form, perhaps you are still here, as an energetic force.

Whatever it is, I have faith that this is not an ending, but just a cycle. I love you, until the day our spirits connect again some day, in some way, in some form. 

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