The Positive Side of Loss

Losing loved ones is extremely difficult. After losing my father, a daughter, and several pregnancies I experienced bouts of deep depression and pure sadness. Other times I was angry at how unfair life can be. Grief can be consuming, and everyone deals with it in different ways. I found that I dealt with my grief in different ways as time passed. People told me that the pain would heal with time. Our daughter passed 8 years ago today. I can tell you that the pain has not healed. I honestly do not believe it will. The thing that has changed is my ability to deal with the pain. This morning as I reflect and honor Elise, I felt the strength of Purple Power and I was struck with several new thoughts about the positive side of loss.

  • I am still alive, so I must live!

The reason we feel loss is because someone is gone while we are still here. But wait! That means we are still here! If we are here we still have the ability to live and to live BIG. Loss is hard but not living is harder. Each of us has a finite amount of time on earth. I plan to honor the ones I lost by living. I know they wouldn’t want less for me.

  • I have known true love and I still have love to give!

We feel loss because someone we love is no longer with us on earth. The bigger our love, the bigger our loss. But wait! That means we were lucky enough to have someone in our life to love! I am so fortunate to know how to feel and show BIG love. Loss does not mean our ability to love and be loved is gone as well. We can grieve the loss but we should be proud of our capacity to love. There are so many people on earth that are worthy of our love and it feels really good to share it. Don’t feel guilty about sharing your love with new people. Tapping back into our loving hearts helps us to cope with the pain of loss. I know the loved ones we’ve lost wouldn’t want us to live without love.

  • I am a survivor and I have more to do!

Losing a loved one is very hard. It seems harder when the person we lost was young. This feels very unfair and it can lead to questions such as Why? Truth is, we will never truly know why, so I stopped asking the why question a long time ago. I finally realized that there are some things in life that I will never understand. I made the decision to accept the things I cannot control and to kick butt at the things I can. I am a survivor! I have more to do while I am fortunate enough to still be here. I want to make my lost loved ones and the loved ones still with me proud. I plan to make the most out of the life I have left!

This morning as I honor our sweet girl, Elise, I am both smiling and crying. She changed me forever and I thank her for the wonderful impact she had on our lives. I miss her and I grieve her loss. Of course, I wish she were still here, but she’s not. I can choose to focus on the negative or I can choose to focus on the positive. I choose the positive. PURPLE POWER!

When is the last time you had REAL fun?

At what point do we decide that we should stop experiencing life and fun the way we did as a child? When do we decide it is juvenile to be silly and play unless it includes a child? More importantly than when, is WHY? I’ve half-heartedly asked myself these questions in the past, but this has been brought top of mind again. The past couple of weeks my oldest child has been away at camp. I receive infrequent letters from her because she is having too much fun to take time to write home. My only indication of how things are going for her comes from pictures posted on the camp website. I scour them daily hoping for a slight glimpse of her. My fear that she is homesick is put to rest when I see her face full of laughter and joy. She is clearly having fun! As I look at the faces of all the girls in the pictures, their energy jumps off the screen. They are loving life and it shows!

Simultaneously, I have been working with a professional on my company and personal branding. One of the many activities she asked me to do was to develop a mood board on Pinterest. I wanted to post pictures of adults with the same joy, fun, and laughter that I saw in the girls’ faces in those camp pictures. I could barely find any!!! I was surprised and saddened. What does this mean?

As I roll this over in my mind, I remember things my 9-year-old daughter has said to me in the past. Once after getting a French manicure, she asked why I didn’t chose a pretty color polish. When I told her this looked more professional, she responded, “Why does professional have to be boring?” Wow. Good question. One other time I mentioned having to attend a Board meeting. She asked, “Mommy, why do have to go to another one of those bording meetings?” In her mind, she thought I was saying boring. She was doing a great job of reading between the lines because usually they are boring, oops, I mean professional.

I have had other confirmations in the past couple of weeks that we adults lose our fun factor. Over the weekend, we had some friends over for dinner. We were discussing our daughters attending camp. One of our guests said, “I want to go to camp! Why don’t we have camps for adults?” I’m sure a few exist but it is not as prevalent as for kids. Why?! I would go! I would love to hang out with new friends by the camp fire laughing about our day while making smores. We now have the ability to pair that with a great wine and we aren’t doing it!

Even worse than losing our ability to tap into our inner child is that we look at those that are lucky enough to do it as if they are doing something wrong. If you saw a female enter a “bording meeting” with bright yellow fingernails, a fun pony tail, and beach t-shirt how would you respond? If you saw a group of men playing a game of freeze-tag in your neighborhood, what would you think? What if they asked you to join them? Social standards might cause us to categorize this type of behavior as immature, unrefined, or unpolished. But why?

That’s another thing! When do we stop asking, “Why?” Is it because we finally drove our parents so crazy asking why over and over again that they warned us to never say it again?! Did we really never ask it again? Did we begin to accept social norms, become boring, lose our curiosity, and stop playing without asking why? Why?

Life as an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. We have more freedom than we did as a child, but we lose sight of it under the weight of our responsibilities. We must build a career, a family, a home, college funds, the list goes on and on. Is it this weight combined with social norms and our failure to ask why that is stealing our inner child joy?

Opioid addiction, anxiety, depression rates, and suicides are rising exponentially. We must begin to ask great questions to find out how to solve this. My questions are, “How would we feel if we decide to begin letting our inner child have fun again?”, “What would we learn and possibly change if we started asking why again?”, “What if we continue to follow the trend of losing the suit/tie and redefine professional?” and “If we could tap into our inner child at least once per week, what could that do for our psyche?”

Truthfully, I have no proof that tapping back into our inner child would help with the problems mentioned above. I know they are very complex issues. This blog has been a complete brain storm rather than following my normal pattern of tell a story, present questions, and offer researched solutions. What I do know is that I am tired of missing out on the fun I see in my daughter’s face. I want to have fun like that again! Also, I am going to begin to ask why much more often. And I am going to redefine professional to reflect who I am and what my inner child loves. I invite you all to come with me! Anyone up for a game of freeze-tag?? Let me know your thoughts!

-Gina Simpson is a certified professional coach and founder of Soluna Strategies. If you are interested in working with Gina to reach your full potential, email her at gina@solunastrategies.com. Her passion is your success!