Now more than ever, it’s time to say that it’s OK not to be OK. Loss is part of life, and although we don’t claim to understand it, we know that together, we can overcome it.
We asked #UHBauer alumna & Grateful and Company founder Caroline Ferguson to share with us her tips for handling loss, which you can read below.
Is this an odd tip? Probably. This goes back to the century long debate of sympathy versus empathy. “Oh, it will get better! Smile!” vs. “I may not be able to relate to how you feel, but I am so sorry, and I’m here if you need me.” Having gone through tremendous loss, I can tell you from first-hand experience that you need to cry, and if crying isn’t your thing, you need to get the emotions you’re feeling out somehow. Don’t mask what you’re feeling with an “It Will Get Better” band-aid. Hiding emotions will only lead to an explosion! Loss IS hard, and you are allowed to feel.
One of the things that I did religiously after I lost my father was to write. I wrote constantly — my emotions, my feelings, questions, frustrations, etc. I wrote. But I also spoke to people. I talked about the loss, I asked questions, and in a selfish way, I wanted to be heard, which is totally OK! At this point it’s crucial to understand that there are people surrounding you who desperately want to help but are probably unsure of what to do. Call one of them up, invite them over for breakfast, and ask them to listen.
Stand in front of a mirror and repeat: “I am going to get through this.”
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow — and that’s OK, but you will get through this. It is amazing to me to sit and reflect on how strong we were built to be. Our hearts and minds are more resilient than anything. We “feel” ferociously, but we overcome furiously.
I don’t know what you’ve lost. All I can say is that I’ve lost, too. Having come out stronger and better through my personal tragedy of losing my father to suicide years ago, I want you to know that you can, too. You are stronger than you think, and you will be OK. You are loved, you are worthy of this life, you are seen, and you are heard.
By Caroline Ferguson