Loss, Grieving and the Lessons of Goodbye

Hello and goodbye go hand in hand.

Posted Jan 03, 2013

Taking leave of the familiar is frightening because, let's face it, we are creatures of habit. Routine gives us structure, which gives us meaning and a sense of safety. So when we have to say goodbye to what we know to embark on what we do not, it is often accompanied by a feeling of deep terror.

Saying goodbye can be very healthy though. As we enter a new year, we are saying goodbye to the old one. The flip of the calendar means we have progressed. So with every ending is a new beginning; with every goodbye is a new hello.

When a pet dies or a friend grows beyond the existing relationship, we experience loss. It is normal. No one likes to lose things -- or people for that matter. It requires adjustment and an acceptance we may not be ready to embrace.

Sometimes we outgrow the friends we have and need to expand our circle to find news ones that are more suitable to our current life situation.

People enter our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I am blessed to have quite a few lifetime friends whose amazing resilience and agility inspire me time and again. But then there are those people, like harbingers in the night, that enter our life space for a little while – to teach us things we might not otherwise have known. They might gift us experiences, good or bad, to make us the deeper, richer people we are now.

They glide into our lives and may bring joy, sorrow or a mixture of the two. We know the relationship won’t last forever, but we are glad to have known the person just the same.

Those people prove that hello is another form of goodbye to what you used to believe until they show you a different way altogether.

Loss makes us grow closer to the human experience. It actually enriches our ability to feel. And while those feelings might sting, they remind us as well that we are alive. A numb life may be safer, but what vastness we would miss if we chose that path.

There is never a “once upon a time” without a “the end” too. And with every happy (or not so happy) ending follows a new chapter in our lives – full of possibility, experiences and the potential for unmatchable joy.

Loss hurts. Grief is a part of life. Nonetheless, navigating those waters back to wholeness is a journey well worth taking.

About the Author

Christine Louise Hohlbaum

Christine Louise Hohlbaum is the author of The Power of Slow: 101 Ways to Save Time in Our 24/7 World.

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