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17 Things I’ve Observed About Loss

Shortly after my mother died from metastatic breast cancer, I started a list of things I learned, or more aptly, things I observed from the whole experience of loss.

Doing so was sort of out of character for me as I’m not a list person, as Dear Hubby will attest to. He makes lists for everything. I rarely make lists other than when I go to the grocery store. Not sure exactly what this says about me…

This is the first installment of some of my observations about loss; few if any, are new and certainly none are profound. It’s the act of stating them that matters.

Writing always helps me, and I encourage you to do the same if you’ve experienced a recent loss, or a even a not-so-recent loss. This list is entirely random. There’s no hierarchy here, or if there is, I have yet to figure it out.

17 Things I’ve Observed About Loss

   1.  It will start to hurt with less intensity eventually, but it will always hurt because loss is forever.

   2.  You don’t have to finish grieving even if some thing you should.

   3.  You might not even want to finish grieving.

   4.  Regrets are pretty much a waste of time and energy.

   5.  You might cry more than fellow grievers, or less.

   6.  Nurses and aides (good ones) are like angels and deserve thank yous.

   7.  It’s a tremendous honor and privilege to “help” someone you love die.

   8.  Your presence and your compassion are the greatest gifts to give a dying person.

   9.  It’s okay to cry.

 10.  It’s okay to not cry.

 11.  Some doctors are wonderful and some are barely adequate during this time; this is just a fact.

 12.  No one prepares you for loss and most choose not to talk about it.

 13.  Allowing pets in EOL care facilities is one of the best ideas ever.

 14.  Sometimes just being there is enough.

 15.  Silence is vastly under-rated.

 16.  Some things are not meant to be fixed.

 17.  Memories are treasures of the heart.

I found the process of making this list to be comforting. There’s something about writing stuff down that’s validating and healing.

If you’ve experienced a loss recently, or not so recently, why not give it a try?

What’s an observation or lesson you’ve learned about loss?

Have you ever felt as if you were doing grief all wrong?

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17 things I've learned from loss 


Friday 30th of August 2019

Lately I've found doing my family tree at very cathartic. Can upload photos of those that are gone but not forgotten. Seeing all of them is sad but I feel like they are with me.


Wednesday 11th of September 2019

Janine, I'm glad you find delving into your family tree comforting. I have never visited that site, but I'm definitely interested in family history. Thank you for sharing.

Sue A

Friday 16th of August 2013

I think one other thing needs to be added -- just because you have grieved, and think you have moved past it, doesn't mean that you are done. I lost my mother at 23, and did all the appropriate things. But 10 years later, when I was pregnant, I found there was a whole list of things to grieve (seeing my mother hold my daughter, calling her on the phone to ask about baby issues, sharing special "firsts") that had never occurred to me.


Monday 19th of August 2013

Sue, That's so true. A person is never really finished with grieving. It's an evolving emotion/process. You raise an important point - we grieve all over as we pass through major (and sometimes not so major) milestones such as pregnancy. We miss sharing these things with our loved one and the grief a person feels during these times can be very intense. Thanks for sharing that. I'm very sorry for your loss, Sue.

Philippa (aka Feisty Blue Gecko)

Saturday 15th of June 2013

This is an enormously helpful post, Nancy. I did not see this when you first posted it, ironically because I was in Scotland spending those last days with my father before we lost him. I am also writing about this at the moment, and will reference your posts. P x


Sunday 16th of June 2013

Philippa, It means a lot to hear this from you; your grief is so fresh and raw yet. I look forward to reading whatever you write about loss. Hugs.


Wednesday 20th of March 2013

I'm not sure if there were any lessons learned apart from the fact is is all about the dying process. Grief is normal Each one does what's comfortable for him/herself depending who the person is you are grieving

Love Alli xx


Wednesday 20th of March 2013

Alli, Grief is a normal reaction to loss and each of us deserves to move through it in whatever manner works best. You're so right. Thank you for commenting.


Monday 18th of March 2013

This list really rang true for me. Thank you for posting this.


Monday 18th of March 2013

Laura, Your words mean a lot. Thank you.

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