He’s Doug’s dog. Max may greet you cheerfully when you walk in the door at Landing Strong. Wagging his fluffy white tail while showing off his fabulous winter sweater.
Max comes in to work because he hasn’t had an easy time lately. His lifelong companion Murphy passed away and the adjustment has been hard on him. Always together, Max suddenly found himself without his best friend. When I first met Max he was sad and somewhat withdrawn. Overtime, he’s growing in confidence and is coming out of his bed more often. The more he interacts, the better he does.
Grief is like that. Isolating and all encompassing. It makes it hard to get up and go out…particularly if all we want to do is lie in bed. The thing is, grief is not meant to be experienced alone. There’s power and strength in expressing the roar of pain associated with loss. Pain is meant to be seen and heard…that’s why we cry out. It’s an invitation for connection…for recovery never happens in isolation.
Extending our thoughts and hearts to each and every one of you who are experiencing the pain of loss. Know that you are not alone.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Executive Director, Landing Strong
In her book Option B, Sheryl Sandberg describes the devastating impact of unexpectedly losing her husband Dave during a trip to Mexico. The purpose of the trip was to renew their wedding vows after eleven years of marriage. One minute he’s on the elliptical trainer climbing his way to health, and the next moment he is lying on the floor, gone. Suddenly, she found herself in a deep void attempting to begin a life that she did not imagine nor choose. She described feeling completely unprepared and alone. Grief became a demanding companion, with ordinary events like school parents’ night becoming unexpected landmines.
Her friend and Psychologist Adam Grant flew across the country to support her. His words of comfort were that she would need to allow her grief to run its course. She asked Adam how she could get some resiliency. He told her that resilience is the strength and speed of our response to adversity. It isn’t about having a backbone, but rather, about strengthening the muscles around our backbone.
I know that many of you have endured life altering loses. “Option A” of life, as we originally expected it, no longer exists. It might be the loss of a person, of health, of your identity, or of your belief in the world. For some reason, the unfolding of your existence has been irrevocably altered.
What do we do in such times? In Sheryl’s case, it was to recognize that Option A as she put it, life with her husband Dave, was no longer available. The only option, according to her friend Adam, was to “kick the shit” out of Option B.
What stage are you in?
Have you started to allow yourself the possibility of developing an alternative option for yourself?
Like Sheryl, we encourage you to allow others in, to assist in the re-visioning and restructuring of your life. Know that we are here for you.
Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych. Founder, Landing Strong
Connecting with Belinda
Executive Director Belinda Seagram, Ph.D. shares regular blog posts to inspire you during your journey.