How to Survive the Loss of a Love: Author's Notes
When an emotional injury takes place,
the body begins a process
natural as the healing
of a physical wound.
Let the process happen.
Trust the process.
Surrender to it.
Trust that nature will do the healing.
Know that the pain will pass,
and, when it passes,
you will be stronger,
happier, more sensitive and aware.
THE STAGES OF RECOVERY
- Recovering from a loss takes place in three distinct-yet overlapping-stages.
- They are:
- Each stage of recovery is:
-a part of the healing process
the fear that I would
come home one day and
find you gone has turned
into the pain of the
"What will I do if it happens?"
I would ask myself.
What will I do
now that it
You Will Survive
- You will get better.
- No doubt about it.
- The healing process has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
- Keep in mind, at the beginning, that there is an end. It's not that far off. You
- Nature is on your side, and nature is a powerful ally.
- Tell yourself, often, "I am alive. I will survive."
- You are alive.
- You will survive.
in my sleep
you called. you said
you were moving bac
with your old lover.
you said you thought a
phone call would be the
cleanest way to handle it,
"it" being what we could
never see each other
again, and that I should
I moved to wake
myself and found I wasn't
sleeping after all.
my life became
It's OK to Feel
- It's OK to feel numb. Expect to be in shock for awhile. This emotional numbness may
- It's OK to fear. "Will I make it?" "Will I ever love again?" "Will I ever feel good
about anything again?" These are familiar fears following a loss. It's OK to feel
them, but, to the degree you can, don't believe them.
- It's OK to feel nothing. There are times when you'll have no feelings of any kind.
- It's OK to feel anything. You may feel grief-stricken, angry, like a failure, exhausted,
lost, beaten, indecisive, relieved, overwhelmed, inferior, melancholy, giddy, silly,
loathful, full of self-hatred, envious, suicidal (feelings OK, actions not), disgusted,
happy, outraged, in rage or anything else.
- All feelings are a part of the healing process.
- Let yourself heal. Let yourself feel.
I drive away,
tears in my eyes.
Bugs commit suicide on my windshield.
I drive away,
nothing in my eyes.
Snowflakes commit suicide on my windshield.
- You are a good, whole, worthwhile human being.
- You are OK. You're more than OK, you're great.
- Your self-esteem may have suffered a jolt. Your thoughts may reflect some guilt,
worry, condemnation or self-deprecation. These thoughts are just symptoms of the
stress you are going through.
- There is no need to give negative thoughts about yourself the center of attention.
- Don't punish yourself with "if only's." ("If only I had [or hadn't] done this or
that I wouldn't be in this emotional mess.") Disregard any thought that begins "If
- You are much more than the emotional wound you are currently suffering. Don't lose
sight of that.
- Beneath the surface turmoil:
-you are good
-you are whole
-you are beautiful
just because you are.
I am Joy.
I am everything.
I can do all things but two:
1. forget that I love you.
2. forget that you no longer love me.
The Question of Suicide
- You may be having suicidal thoughts. They may or may not be as eloquent as "to be
or not to be," but they arise.
- Know they are a natural symptom of the pain, andthat there is no need to act on them.
- If you fear these impulses are getting out of hand, seek professional help at once.
Call directory assistance and ask for the number of your local Suicide Prevention
Hotline. Then call it. The people (almost entirely volunteers) are there to help.
They want to help. Give them the gift of allowing them to do so.
- Don't turn the rage against yourself. (Although feeling rage is perfectly all right-after
all, an utterly outrageous thing has happened to you.) Find a safe way to release
it. Beat a pillow, cry, scream, stomp up and down, yell.
- Above all, suicide is silly. It's leaving the world series ten minutes into the first
inning because your favorite hitter struck out. It's walking out of the opera during
the overture just because the conductor dropped his baton. It's...well, you get the
picture. In this play called life, aren't you even a little curious about what might
- The feeling will pass. You can count on that. You will get better. Much better.
- We do promise you a rose garden. We just can't promise it will be totally without
THE QUESTION OF SUICIDE:
Keep it a question.
It's not really an answer.
Your Happiness is Up to You
- Happiness depends on your attitude towards what happens to you, not on what happens
- It may sound revolutionary, but problems don't have to make you unhappy.
- This runs counter to our cultural programming-which tells us we must react in certain
negative ways to certain "negative" events.
- Nonetheless, happiness is always our choice. That is a reality of life.
- Stop waiting for Prince Charming, Cinderella, more money, the right job, total health
or anything else before you're happy.
- Stop waiting.
- Choose satisfaction.
- Be happy.
I am worthy.
I am worthy of my life and
all the good that is in it.
I am worthy of
my friends and their friendship.
I am worthy of spacious skies, amber waves
of grain and purple mountain majesties
above the fruited plain. (I am worthy, too,
of the fruited plain.)
I am worthy of a degree of happiness
that could only be referred to as
"sinful" in less enlightened times.
I am worthy of creativity,
sensitivity and appreciation.
I am worthy of peace of mind, peace on Earth,
peace in the valley and a piece of the action.
I am worthy of God's presence in my life.
I am worthy
of my love.