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Acknowledging Loss for Growth: A Personal Introduction

Updated: Feb 14

It's February 13. Today is my Dad's birthday but he's been gone for nearly 6 years.

On one hand, it seems like I haven't heard his voice in forever but on the other, I can remember his laugh, just like it was yesterday.

This year, his birthday makes me sad. Last year's birthday, I felt something else entirely. That's the funny thing about the process of grieving a loss.

Loss is part of everyone's life, at some point. It can take the form of lost relationships, life changes or loss of lives that have impacted you.

Some losses you can heal from and develop into something new as a result. Some losses will never return you to who you were before and change you so profoundly that you can hardly remember the before.

Loss comes from experiencing love, connection and joy but then having to replace those feelings with new feelings we don't quite know how to navigate. We can be impacted directly or indirectly, unexpectedly or inevitably, peacefully or devastatingly.

I haven't written much about loss, even though it has been a very big part of my adult life. I don't pretend to have the secret either. I respect that everyone's grief can look very different from mine. We may not have experienced the very same loss but I hold space for others who grieve because we all need to know that our loss is loss. It's a universal human experience that comes with complicated, layered emotions.

I write about it here as my way of acknowledging my grief today but also I write about it here because love and even growth can follow loss - at least it can, if you allow it to.

It's never easy but you can learn to recognize your grief and make space to allow yourself to feel it when it comes up. You can accept that sometimes grief shows up when you don't expect it. You can experience love and connection and joy anew while still grieving your loss. That all comes from feeling your pain but also growing as a result of it.

Today, I will remember my Dad and be sad but also smile. As I have grown through my grief, I hardly remember life before it. Today, differently than other years, my grief led me to write.

Friends, we rarely ever need someone to have known our exact loss in order to be comforted. We don't have to have the right words - simply acknowledging someone else's loss in your imperfect way is comforting all by itself.

This week, I have made space for and felt my grief as it showed up for me. And today, I make space for all our losses by writing about mine so that I can continue to grow as a result of it.

The loss of my Dad has been a keystone in my personal growth journey but maybe you have experienced a different kind of loss, like I mentioned earlier. Or maybe it was another kind of loss. I see you.

I know other losses - loss of relationships, tragic losses and beloved losses. In this space, we will sit with our grief, make room for each other in our grief journeys, take care of ourselves and know that we can grieve and grow in tandem.


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