6 Life Lessons Learned from a Devastating Loss

Ways to experience life borne from a horrible life experience

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Each of us is more than we think

We are all greater than the sum of our parts, and when called upon can do things that aren’t readily apparent to us. My brother and I, still kids, were tasked with making funeral arrangements for our mom — including picking out a casket, and keeping it all together in front of her family and friends as everyone said their final goodbye.

Control the controllable

Experiencing death is an unfortunate reality in each of our lives. No matter how hard you try, you can’t run away from it. The only thing under my control was how I dealt with the situation while moving forward. While I would love to write that I handled it well, and moved forward with grace beyond my years, I would be lying. Instead, I crawled into myself and filled the empty spaces in my life with the wrong stuff.

You’ll be let down by people that should lift you up

Unfortunately, if you allow people to show you who they are, they often will. The funeral and the weeks that immediately followed were a chance for the wolves to come out. We had a family member we barely spoke to during her life, announcing that they were selling their home and moving in with us. Mom’s close family friend told us that she’d seen mom in a dream and that our mother wanted her to have all of her belongings. Other moments were more diabolical. While publicly celebrating our reverence for mom during her memorial, family members privately wondered why we didn’t just “put her in a box and put her in the ground.” Even our trustees, the very people tasked with keeping our trust, shrunk from their responsibilities and left us to fend for ourselves.

Help will come from unexpected sources

While those in our bloodline decided to take on the role of super-villain over protector, others filled vital functions that our family avoided.

You can, in fact, choose your family

Our family by-and-large saw us as an opportunity to improve their station instead of circling the wagons and protecting us from the world we knew very little. Neighbors and family friends we barely knew helped us cope with what seemed at the time to be an uncope-able situation. We ate meals from assigned chairs at their table and spent Christmases opening gifts in their home. While we were often by ourselves, we were rarely on our own. These experiences brought a speck of normalcy to my life when anything approaching normal was a commodity.

The pain doesn’t get better, but everything else does.

I miss my mom every day. She was a very cool lady, and although not around for very long, played a big part in who I am today. I’m saddened that she didn’t get a chance to enjoy the fruits of her labor (again, figuratively and literally).

Researcher, Writer, and Content Creator trying to find my place within this world of words | Editor of True Crime Institute.

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