This blog is intended to help those who are lost to move forward and heal in mind, body and spirit from a loss.
Grief results from any loss. A loss can be a death but it can also come in many other forms. We experience loss every day and often times more than once a day. Some examples of loss include:
- Deterioration in health
- A move to a new school or city
- Financial hardship
- End of a friendship
- Empty nest
- Job loss/change
- Loss of hearing/vision
- Loss of driver’s license
- Missed opportunity
- Loss of a dream
- Loss of trust
It is important to validate these other losses and address the grief associated with them. We will address all kinds of loss in this blog. I encourage you to share a loss you are currently dealing with so we can help you to move forward and heal in mind, body and spirit. In the following personal loss story I share how an unexpected loss caught my family by surprise.
“Food, glorious food, what is there more handsome!”
I am part of a large family and when we get together, it’s all about food! My husband teases that my side of the family is always discussing their “next meal”. We will be sitting down to a bowl of chili for lunch and at the same time talking about what we should prepare for dinner.
It’s not necessarily about the food itself, although that is good too, but more about the camaraderie and togetherness that surrounds a meal including the planning, shopping, preparing, eating and cleaning up.
All this has recently changed since my father (the patriarch of this large family) has had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. He is fed at night through a peg tube while he sleeps. We opted for this surgery when the muscles in his esophagus quit working and he could not keep any food down.
We were quite encouraged by the surgery since my father would now be able to get the nourishment he had been lacking. However, we could never have anticipated the effect not eating meals together would have on my father, his daily routine and our family gatherings.
If you think about it, food is the central part of most events. We bake a cake to celebrate a birthday, we bring soup to a sick neighbor, we take bagels to work on Fridays, we grill out with neighbors in the summer and we go to picnics, potlucks, restaurants and buffets.
Much of our day is scheduled around food. We schedule our daily activities relative to our meals. We might pray “before breakfast”, exercise “after coffee and breakfast”, meet a friend “for lunch”, or attend a school meeting “after dinner”. Meals regulate the course of our day.
Imagine for a minute not eating meals. It changes the entire rhythm of the day. Not only do you miss the taste and pleasure of eating food, your day becomes less structured. It is an enormous change and it is a loss!
Where we once rejoiced in sharing and preparing a meal together, it is now uncomfortable to eat or to even talk about food around my father without seeming rude. It is upsetting to think about what delicious food my father is missing out on. For example, it is harvest time in the Midwest where my father lives and the gardens are bursting with corn, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. It was his favorite season to enjoy these home grown vegetables. My mother bakes six loaves of homemade bread each week and there is nothing more my father would look forward to then eating a piece of bread fresh out of the oven with butter. It is sad to witness him being deprived of such indulgences! I get anxious thinking about how we will celebrate my father’s 81st birthday this fall and what Thanksgiving will be like for our family.
But there are gifts surrounding this loss. First and most important, with the tube feedings my father is getting the nutrition he was lacking. He feels full and satisfied and tells us he does not crave “regular” food. Secondly, I have a new found gratitude and appreciation for each bite of food that I am able to smell and chew and enjoy! Third, my father has never complained about his situation, therefore, I appreciate his example of a positive attitude, courage and tenacity to still enjoy life under these circumstances.
What loss are you currently dealing with?