Coping with Loss, particularly when it involves the death of a family member or friend is tough. I learned last week that Dr. Gerry Elmore, a caring, compassionate and skilled chiropractor I had gone to a number of times over the years had lost his battle with cancer after suffering for two years. In his 50’s with a wife and children, he left us far too soon.
One of the things we learn and teach in cognitive therapy is emotional perspective. His passing reminds me of the frequent times I allow myself to be bothered and upset by things that really don’t matter very much. I remind myself to appreciate what I have and enjoy the moments on earth I have been given. Behavior therapy teaches us to not only think but act. I head to the beach to watch to sunrise and stroll along the sand reflecting on the loss of this kind man and recommitting to the idea of counting my blessings.
Coping with loss requires time to heal. Most religions have rituals that suggest a year may be a guideline for grieving and is a normal and healthy part of dealing with loss. Celebrating a life well lived is another healthy way to cope with the loss of a love one. But appropriate sadness doesn’t have to lead to clinical depression. I find myself reviewing my own guidebook , “Depression,” by Dr.Robert Heller. I remind myself that “life is not fair” and that “bad things happen to good people”. I commit to writing his wife, avoid “sweating the small stuff” and taking more time to spend with friends and experience joy and create positive memories.
In many religions, there is a common practice to acknowledge the passing of a loved. Sometime there name is said out loud or a candle is lit to remember them.
Finding rituals to remember those who have passed help us heal and respect for a life we cared about.