Life and Loss — Parallel Tracks in Our Lives

parallel railroad tracks representing life and lossAt any given time, loss is part of our normal, everyday experience, right along with the rest of life—including our greatest joys.  When we confront losses, especially serious ones, we often have to remind ourselves that we still have goodness in our lives, too.  We sometimes have to force ourselves to remember that the two tracks are always running alongside each other—and our lives are filled with joy and pain, good and bad, ups and downs—at the same time.  At certain times, one track carries more weight and is more visible, and during those times the pain tends to overshadow the joy.  However, even when pain is the dominant emotion we feel, that doesn’t mean  everything in our lives is bad.

I am no different from anyone else.  When one area of my life or one thing is really distressing, I’m just as liable as anyone else to let negativity creep into my thinking.  We start to question what in our lives is positive, or when we can expect something good to happen again.  This kind of thinking is a trap to avoid.  We will defeat ourselves by  thinking this way.

While the concept isn’t new, I have to periodically remind myself of the parallel tracks of life and loss, so I know I’m not alone in my vulnerability.  We’re not that different from one another.  We’re all human.

The secret is to prevent one track from overwhelming the other.  Don’t allow the grief that accompanies any type of loss to overtake everything else in your life.  At times grief will overshadow everything.  Yes, give yourself the time and space to experience the pain so that you can work through it.  But you cannot face the pain 24/7.

Even when you have to make a strong effort to do so, think of the goodness in the rest of your life.  It’s still there, along with the pain.  Remember why you have a reason to hope.

Maintaining a perfect balance is not realistic, but keep in mind that both tracks are in play at all times.  As long as you’re aware, you can take steps to help yourself.

© 2012 Judy Brizendine

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4 Responses to “Life and Loss — Parallel Tracks in Our Lives”

  1. I really like what you wrote about facing your pain. I believe that is important to do after a loss as well. If you do not confront your pain, you will not begin to heal.

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much for visiting our website, Samantha–and many thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! You’re so right; the only way to heal is to confront your pain head-on. One of the first things I heard in the grief-support group I attended after my husband’s death was, “You can’t go over, under, or around grief. You have to go straight through it.” The leader’s words are just as true today as they were when I heard them fourteen years ago. We’d all like to be able to take a shortcut, but there isn’t one that works. Healing from grief requires doing the work. But if you want to heal, and you’re willing to take the steps, you’ll get there. It’s definitely possible to have a fulfilling life after grief. Your life will be different, but it can also be wonderful again.
      Warm regards,