Change and Loss
Most people don’t realize the frequency and impact of change and loss. From the day we are born until the day we die, we all deal with loss. Change and loss are an important part of the life cycle. We give up the safety of the womb to begin life in the world. We give up the bottle or breast. The arrival of a new brother or sister may mean the loss of priority or attention from our parents. A best friend moves. Our family moves. We leave a favorite teacher. Our dog dies or becomes lost. An outing we have looked forward to is cancelled. A bicycle is stolen. We lose our glasses over and over and over again. A parent leaves. The list goes on and on.
The Birth of Children
Nothing changes life as dramatically as the birth of a child. Children bring joy, but parents experience new challenges and losses as well. Priorities change. The way couples relate to each other changes. Understanding how we deal with change, grief, and loss is important to understanding life. Increased awareness of what we do and why helps. Self understanding can increase our choices and possibilities. It can shorten depression and give hope. To be fully alive and functioning well we must be open to accepting and experiencing our feelings. To be afraid or unwilling to grieve shuts down the ability to experience wonder, tenderness, excitement and joy.
When Children Leave
When children grow up and leave, it creates another big change. We have to be willing to feel the pain that comes with accepting the truth of impermanence. Our children do not belong to us. They are entrusted to our care for a relatively short period of time. Learning to live well means learning to let go. We have to grieve and let go of the loss before we can see or feel the gain. If we can accept our feelings and work through them, the clouds lift and we can feel the gain.
The next step in this ever changing parenting process is to learn to relate to our children as adults to adults. We will talk about that challenge in another blog post.