Bereaved Parents, Healing Grief, The Road Less Traveled

Three Ways to Find Hope After Loss

by Mary Jane Hurley Brant

Mary Jane Hurley Brant
Mary Jane Hurley Brant

Have you lost someone so special you feel you can never be happy again? I ask this question because sooner or later we will all be hit with a loss we think we cannot bear. No one escapes it.

As humans, we wonder if we can ever overcome the pain and loss we feel. We doubt we can go on and find hope again. But we can and these are my suggestions to help.

First, make the decision to live which means you get out of bed every day and put your feet down on the floor. Your life is a gift even if you don’t feel that way right now. Be grateful for your life, even the sad parts, for pain opens the heart more fully. Also, others who love and depend on you need you there physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Second, allow yourself time to grieve your loss every day – not every single moment, mind you – but actively by taking a walk and meditating on your specific loss, lighting a candle with your loss in mind, having a cry. Also, try writing your longings in a private journal; your expressed feelings are crucial to making it through your dark night of the soul. Consider doing something for someone else like bringing an elderly relative or neighbor a pot of soup or a delicious treat. Maybe take a lonelier person to church, temple or synagogue. And if you have children or grandchildren … oh, the joy to hug them. If you have a mate or a friend … turn toward them, not against them.

Third, pray for the grace and courage to accept your now life. You will probably go through the stages of grief and loss (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance) more than once, but remember to reflect more on your many present blessings and less so on your past sorrows. I know it’s hard but you can do it, you really can.

Dear Friends, there is an appointed time for everything and we must surrender to it. “A time for every purpose under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant…a time to heal…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

Yes, there is a time to hope again and this is the time, the time to Make Every Day Matter.

About the Author: Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP is a practicing grief therapist for 32 years with a specialty in loss of a child. She’s also a Certified Group Psychotherapist, works in person or by phone and is the author of When Every Day Matters: A Mother’s Memoir on Love, Loss and Life (Simple Abundance Press). She has a sub-specialty in Multiple Sclerosis and serious illness as well as working within religious communities. Please visit her website, Mary Jane Hurley Brant, to learn more or to read an excerpt of her book, When Every Day Matters.

Read Mary Jane’s other essays:
Katie, My Hero (her daughter’s death)
How Does One Help a Close Friend Deal with Bereavement
Losing a Child (a video)