What Was Big Is Now Small

BigIsSmall2A bereaved father recently shared this story with me: “I had to walk out of a work meeting the other day. It was my first week back to work after my daughter’s death, and I found myself completely impatient with my team. The topics were so trivial, and they were so worked up as they talked. At first I was frustrated with them. Eventually I realized they were the same, and I was different. I used to have the same intensity about the same topics. What really matters to me now is so different since she died.”

You do not choose loss to teach you what to value or help prioritize what matters to you. Yet if you can open yourself to this unbidden teacher, you will be transformed by what it reveals to you.

In the disorientation of loss our props are stripped away. Loss provides us with the full experience of being human. There are moments that connect us with authentic love, gratitude, grace and respect for the fragility of our life and the lives of those we love. Loss can also take us to places of darkness, despair and an uncertainty about the meaning of it all. All of these experiences shape how you will be changed by grief.

Be compassionate with yourself and patient with others as you make this delicate transition back to “normal” life after your loss. Pay attention to what grief has taught you. Honor your loss by remembering what is big and what is small.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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