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Accepting a Loss

For each of us — rich or poor, young or old — there are times in our lives when we must face and deal with personal losses and the pain and sorrow they cause. Examples that come easily to mind are the death of a parent, spouse, child, or other close family member or friend. Many other events and transitions also bring with them sadness and a need to grieve:

  • Being told you have a serious, possibly terminal illness.
  • Having to give up interests and activities that have been a major part of your life.
  • Seeing serious decline in mental or physical health of someone you love.
  • Retiring from a work career or voluntary activity that has helped shape who you are and what you stand for.
  • Losing a significant part of your independence and mobility; even giving up driving a car can be a significant loss for many people.
  • Moving out of your home.
  • Saying goodbye to a favorite pet.


Losses such as these are simply part of living. Like their counterparts among the joyful occasions in our lifetime — the birth of a child or grandchild, a celebration of marriage, an enduring friendship — they are part of what it means to share in the human experience. And the emotions they create in us are part of living, as well.

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