This winter has been a time of loss – a different kind of loss. The sale of my parents’ home and the lake cottage that has been in my extended family for nearly 50 years is creating a breach in my sense of location in the world.

No longer will summer be marked by opening the cottage on Memorial Day or closing it soon after Labor Day. There will be no more meals shared by the fireplace in my parents’ home. Yet it feels as if the scent of wood smoke and lake water permeates every cell of my being.

Being present to these two losses reminds me that we all face changes over the course of our lives. Nothing stays the same; we get to practice letting go again and again. How we let go is as much a part of bereavement as the actual loss.

Whatever the loss, when it first happens, there is an opportunity to acknowledge a full array of feelings. Give yourself permission to be present to the feelings that bubble up for you; weep, be still, sit in sorrow, seek the comfort and support of others. Name what hurts about this particular loss. Be generous with the time you need to be with your own pain – there is no right way or reason to rush through feeling.

When a loss happens there is also an opportunity. Embedded and hidden from view at the moment of loss are possibilities. These may include the healing of old wounds, chances to start afresh, make new friends, discover a community or job or experience that you’ve not given yourself permission to try. The flip side of loss can be a wonderful, amazing opening. A new adventure waits.

So, even as I mourn the release of these places from my life I can choose to anticipate new possibilities. The roads to these places are no longer mine to travel. And new roads await me. I can grieve and look into the future with anticipation all at the same time if I just let myself. Can you?

Peace be with you,

Deb Buehler

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