Living with Loss

My grandson has not yet hit a trauma (that I know of).  Last weekend we were sitting outside and a big hawk flew over - darkly silhouetted against a beautiful bright blue sky, unusual in its brightness for a Virginia summer day.  He looked up and gasped for air, which he does when excited.  He clapped his little hands together in delight.  He cooed and pointed and said, “Meme look.  Big turd.”  Which of course means bird in baby speak.


He gets equally excited when his Pops hands him a peanut butter track (cracker).  I have a video I will show you if you are lucky and ask nice!


I just love the eager anticipation and total unfettered joy of a baby brain.  


When we suffer losses, live with trauma or inconsistency, fail to receive nurturance, we lose our spark of joy.  Instead, we develop coping skills.  If we don’t get help, these coping skills can become debilitating handicaps.  What worked for a scared and lonely ten year old may not be extremely effective for a middle aged person with three kids, a mortgage, and a career that demands a lot of critical thinking.


One common response is rigidity.  We cannot flex.  We up our attempts to control anything that we can because we have learned that there is a lot that we cannot control.  The other companion to rigidity is often resentment.  The birth and blooming development of my grandson reminds me why this is the case.


We were created for joy.  Our senses are equipped to notice and appreciate a big hawk sailing across an azure sky.  Peanut butter is a treat!  Crackers are crunchy and delicious!  People love to give us good gifts and we enjoy giving to others.  


When we are kids we may lose our sparkle and for a time there may not be much we can do about it.  But as we grow and develop independence, we can change all that.  Sadly, many of us do not.


Today, if you can bear up under the weight of it, imitate my grandson.  Ask people for stuff!  Sit in a chair and look up.  What do you see?  Stand barefoot in dewy grass.  Take a walk and watch the landscape not your pedometer.  Eat a dessert (one).  Put cream in your coffee.  Wear your favorite shoes.  Play a round of golf.  Phone a friend and waste time just chatting.  Mostly, figure out what brings you joy and go get some!  


Resilient people absorb joy on a regular basis.  Do that!