ASK COLETTE: Working Through Loss and Lack of Connection
Here, Zoomer guru Colette Baron-Reid on grief, loneliness — and jump starting life all over again.
I am writing for your insight as to how to move forward in my life. I went through cancer four years ago and am in slow recovery, still feeling a lot of fatigue.
Both my parents have passed away in the last six months. I lost my mother this past October from cancer and, then five months later, I lost my father from a heart attack. I feel very alone and lost in my life.
Dear Lost and Alone,
I’ve lost both my parents as well and I remember the terribly isolated feeling I thought I would never ever move past. Both my parents died in a short period of time back to back, and I also did not have the best relationships with my extended family. What I know is that I had to live my life in one day, 24-hour increments, and that I could manage my grief and my sorrow in those 24 hours. I paid a lot of attention to my dog. I allowed myself to love where I could and I allowed myself to be helped by others.
I believe in group counselling and in group therapy. Grief support groups are really important to have. If you lack community within your own family you can seek out external communities for engagement.
Time will heal these relationships. Family relationships are always the most difficult. But if you can also develop a spiritual connection (church, synagogue, place of spiritual worship, etc.) where you can establish a community fellowship, it will help with our feelings of aloneness. When I lived in Toronto, I loved going to the Unity Church.
The hardest thing is to accept help from others but not only can they restore you to life, they can restore your faith in humanity. You can develop new family/tribe relationships away from your family of origin and you can be happy again.
No one will be able to bring your parents back. You can always have a relationship with your mother because we don’t die. In my experience as a medium, life is everlasting.
What kind of food would you pick up? What cooking skills would you simply purchase and start using?
What clothes will you wear? What will they say about you?
What job or jobs will you have? What responsibilities will you take on? Will the work you do be fulfilling? Will the people you work with be flexible and respectful of your needs? What will that look like? Will you collaborate with them or compete with them?
As you draw up your list, if you feel hesitation about acknowledging what you want for yourself, stop. Get in touch with why you feel that situation is off limits to you.