Courage Road was written for those who have experienced a loss by death, but I want to acknowledge all the numerous kinds of losses, and validate the pain loss causes in lives.
Loss of a beloved pet who is not just a pet but your friend, an integral member of your family.
Loss of the dream of finding love. And possibly with that, not ever having children or grandchildren. We think of that loss primarily for women but what of the man who longed for a child?
Loss of quality of life after an accident or injury, chronic pain, financial hardship leading to depression or irritability and relationship struggles.
Loss of identity for those who served in the war and came home to a different kind of world, not fitting in.
Loss of a relationship, or strained relationship due to differing political or religious views.
Divorce, house flooded or burned down, legal problems, bullying, life threatening illnesses, caregiving, job loss, and unemployment, or even under-employment. Loss of feeling safe in the world, mental health problems, lack of medical care, and loneliness.
All of these losses and more carry a form of heartbreak and fear. I don’t care if a person is normally positive, generally grateful, or looks on the bright side—at some point these griefs must be acknowledged and deeply felt because they are significant and can change the course of one’s life. Feel the weight… but not forever. At the back of my book are tips to help ease the grief journey and not stay stuck. Allow for the ebb and flow of the emotions. It’s okay to feel sad. Then after a time write down what you are grateful for or plan a project, or ask for help, or eat something healthier than greasy chips.
Another tip is to realize that these losses may have happened to you, but they are not who you are. After giving yourself a time to grieve, try not to let loss define the rest of your life. This takes practice, especially if the loss is ongoing.
If we all still wore black, or for current times, something like an armband indicating that we are in grief, with the words Tender Heart written on in, I believe we would see many. And would we all be more sensitive to someone wearing the armband? I certainly hope so.