We Find A Place For What We Lose

2009 December 28

We find a place for what we lose. Although we know that after such a loss the acute stage of mourning will subside, we also know that a part of us shall remain inconsolable and never find a substitute. No matter what may fill the gap, even if it is completely filled, it will nevertheless remain something changed forever.” -Sigmund Freud

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The new year is approaching. At this time, me and many other people begin to reflect on this last year and what we want to change or set a resolution for in the upcoming new year.

For me, 2009 was extremely rewarding but I also experienced a lot of loss. Ask me in January 2009 if I would have been here (mentally, physically, emotionally, devoid of certain people, new people in my life and new home) at the end of 2009 and I would have laughed in your face. Life is filled with surprises.

We’ve all been there: I just want to forget this ever happened. This isn’t happening to me. How do I make this go away?

Sometimes that hole or void seeps into your soul and the pain is immense so you want to make it go away. Pushing away the problem doesn’t make it go away, yet, I think one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve received (and offered to others) is to feel what you’re feeling.

Recognize what you’re going through and without sounding esoteric there’s a sense of practicality in validating your emotions and feelings. I don’t suggest wallowing, but that piece of you is changed forever and it’s okay. The hurt and frustrated part of me wants to stomp my feet and do things that will distract me (not all a bad idea) but sometimes acknowledging who I am and what I’m actually feeling, feels good too.

I’m a realistic optimist. I won’t sugar coat it with a cheesy starry-eyed new years eve post because for some of the parts in life, I’m still finding a place for what I’ve lost. And that’s a position I’m okay being in.

Do you try to push it all away? Do you think our society encourages distractions and not facing our fears?

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  • http://www.ryanjknapp.com Ryan Knapp

    Society tends to tell us how we have to deal with our feelings/losses and doesn't realize that it's best to do it on a personal level.

    My dad passed away from cancer Sunday August 2nd, 1998. What did I do that afternoon? Played in my doubleheader hockey game, because that is how I knew how to deal with my emotions, through sport.

    If you have to get in a cocoon for 1 week to get over it, if you cry, yell, draw, write, or do nothing, that is your decision and others should respect that decision, not try to force their opinions/ideas on them.

    Wish you a great 2010 Grace! Glad to get to know you, and hope to do so more in the upcoming year.

  • http://twentyorsomething.com/ Susan Pogorzelski


    This post, perhaps above all others, has really resonated with me on an emotional level. I would admit that it brought me to tears, but that's an easy thing to do these days, so I'll just leave it by saying your words touched the heart, touched on something that I've been trying to reconcile for a very, very long time.

    I think the older we get, the more things affect you, although we're less likely to admit it. When you're young, you just don't understand things in the same way — you feel what you feel, but then you get up and you move on with barely a look back. That's a childhood blessing, a lesson that I wish we could hang onto — and maybe some of us can. But I think when you get older, things affect you on a deeper level and so you hold onto it differently. When you're a kid, you can scream and cry and acknowledge your feelings. When you experience loss, you miss what you have but you know how to move on. When you're an adult, though, I think you feel more acutely, but that's not really ok according to society. You're supposed to get over it and move on and not look back at all.

    Which, in my opinion, is kind of BS. Some things take longer to move on from. And sometimes healing doesn't come with just the passing of time. As someone who is incredibly sensitive and empathetic by nature, I've come to understand that feeling what you feel doesn't have to mean a sign of weakness. This past year alone, I've learned that a person is capable of such strong emotions — that's a part of being human — and I have learned to live and love that very mantra “feel what you feel.”

    I think we need to realize that we're human, that having emotions are acceptable because that is really what makes us different. We mourn our losses and we acknowledge our fears because that's what helps us to appreciate what we have and celebrate what once was; knowing our fears is what helps us to face them and grow, learn.

    Distractions are great and can help lessen the blow, can offer some perspective, some time. But in the end, they're only that: distractions.

    Feel what you need to feel and never, ever be ashamed for it. Because those feelings? That's also what makes you you.

    And a very great you you are :)

    Wishing you the very, very best, Grace.

  • http://fiwk.blogspot.com/ Royce

    I want to thank Susan for writing that comment, I found it moving. And Grace I'm glad you've come to terms with your emotional state right now. Best of luck to you in 2010.

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  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

    If we push it away and try to move away from it, why did it happen? I know not everyone is like this, but I'm a believer in the fact that things happen for a reason. They have to. Even it's a reason we have to glean for ourselves. Otherwise, life is just a series of events. We're born, shit happens, good stuff happens, then we die. Sad existence really.

    That's not to say we don't move ON, cause there are things we have to experience/learn from/ grow from but they are also the ones we need to store in a special place in our minds and hearts.

    Beautiful post Grace, as always. :)

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  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Ryan Your advice is sagely and very true. I'm sorry to hear about your father and I'm glad to hear you know how to deal with your emotions and take the time to do what you need. Everyone is different and knowing yourself is so important. Thank you for sharing and looking forward to sharing 2010 with you and others :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Susan This is so immensely beautiful. It brought a smile and a tear to me. So often I will listen to a friend crying, and they say, “I know it's stupid but I feel….” and I say, “No, it's not stupid. You're feeling this for a reason.” So like I said, it's the best piece of simple advice I have been given and offered to others.

    Thank you for your support and lovely words. You really added to this post and quote that I found and your comment is amazing. I hope you read your own words and remember how powerful you are and the amazing you that you are.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Royce Susan and I spoke (as did you and I) so I completely agree with you. Stay tuned, because Susan will be re-posting her comment and part of my post on her own blog (http://twentyorsomething.com/) in the near future. I encouraged it because her comment was so eloquent and well-put. Thanks for sharing, Royce.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Elisa I too, believe that everything happens for a reason. It's not always easy but it eases some of the frustration from past experiences and also that it will and can happen in the future. Thank you for sharing and thanks for your kind words :)

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  • http://diamondkt.blogspot.com David

    Hmm. Who is this Grace Boyle girl and why is it that I just recently started reading her brilliant blog? I don't know, but I'm loving it and wish I had found her digital dimples earlier.

    Ok, sorry. That was meant to sound funny or even slightly cute, but came off a bit creepy. Anyway, I digress.

    A realistic optimistic – YES! I would classify myself the same, even if my optimism sometimes waivers. But a realist I always am. Then again I do like to dream. Maybe I should just call myself a contradiction and move along.

    It’s true that society encourages distractions instead of facing fears. Perfect example: a break-up. Similar to death, it too is a grieving process and grieving is scary. Anytime you break-up with someone, people always encourage you to stay as busy as possible, so you don’t cry too much. Distract yourself, they say. Nobody ever tells you to wallow in self-pity for a day or so and then go fill your life with other activities.

    Hey, I hate to be the one to admit it because it’s not sexy, but sometimes you need a good mancry after a devastating lose. I think it helps cleanse the soul and I see no shame in that. Which is precisely why I allowed myself one full day to whine like a baby to my Mommy after I experienced my first heartbreak. After that day passed, I sucked it up and moved on…AKA, distracted myself with other activities like society instructs.

    Grief is an expression that you loved well. Therefore tears should be one of pride and not shame.

  • VictoriaPhD

    Psychologists may agree that complete DENIAL of deep loss and emotional pain can be harmful and may lead to a variety of disfunctional behaniors and personality affects. Perhaps it is worth a moment to consider the remarkable coping ability of our human makeup that provides temporary distractions or emotional detours as moments of PAUSE that allow our mind and bodies to catch up with each other. These serve a good purpose: to allow the shock of the pain to settle a bit from the initial impact, to let us better gather our thoughts and more appropriately gauge our reactions after the event, to learn to manage and control the first impulsive reactions (which may not, in the end, be healthy or contribute to the necessary emotional healing). Tincture of time is not only a well-established “treatment” among therapists and wise grandmothers, it can be a requisite to developing a functional, integrated and healthy way to cope with life's inevitable slings and arrows.

    Is a tantrum – with the screaming and foot stomping – productive? Does it get you what you want or need? Does it hurt you or others? Is there another way to release the energy and the angst that the emotional event is causing without reverting to a juvenile expression of helplessness?

    Remember that emotional hurts can ripple through one's life with echoes of the pain never quite being silenced, only understood and accepted as part of the journey. Feel what you're feeling. Give it a name and understand that in the moment, you may be feeling something more intense or distorted than when the shock wave passes. Be gentle with yourself and remember that it is not just what we feel emotionally but how we manage and cope with these feelings that can contribute to a rich, full and healthy life.

    Peace to you Grace.

  • VictoriaPhD

    A note about David's comment:
    Did you know that the chemical makeup of emotionally-shed tears is different from that of standard tear film that moistens and lubricates the eyes or the tears we shed when we peel onions or get sand in our eyes?

    According to a Minnesota research study, the tears we weep when we're upset contain substances our bodies make when under duress, including certain stress hormones and a natural painkiller called leucine enkephalin. These tears provide a natural release of those stress hormones, and a painkiller, which explains why we feel better after “a good cry.”

    How remarkable our bodies are!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @David Creepy? Oh please, we both know that we've seen our share of creepy and you're far from it. You're always cute!

    Constant weepy and emotional upheaval isn't sexy, but a man who is emotionally attuned and emotionally aware is sexy. Ryan brought up a good point that we actually cope in many different ways and that's okay, too.

    Below your comment, Victoria PhD echoed how good it feels after crying because it actually chemically releases stress hormones. I always take a big, deep sigh after I've cried and I'm glad that my family allowed me to express my feelings and not hold it in. An ex-boyfriend of mine was raised in a stoic family (ha, clearly not Italian) and it was hard to express himself or even cry when all he felt like doing WAS crying. Denial of your emotions isn't healthy and just like you said, “grief is an expression that you loved well. Therefore tears should be one of pride and not shame…”

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Victoria Tucking away our emotions seems ludicrous but it might be easier to try to forget versus acknowledging, then accept it as part of the journey (as you say). I love what you have shared here, thank you for stopping by.

    Oh and to your other comment, I love that research. Crying really is an incredible release. I like to have a “good cry” at least once a month :) Regardless, sometimes it's even happy tears.

  • http://herestothegoldendays.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    I'm not sure if society does as a whole tell us to ignore the pain and the problem.

    I, however, have tried to push it all away before, and it hasn't worked. Fortunately, for me, I am a bit of a ranter and I do show my emotions somewhere. So, for me to go very long without saying anything about a situations would be rather uncharacteristic of me.

    Then, people would probably be a little worried/nervous and have to ask me and it would eventually come out anyway.

  • http://twentyorsomething.com/ Susan Pogorzelski

    Grace, I so appreciated your post and wish that words could tell you just how much. It's one of those rare ones that I think I'll be coming back to time and time again. Because when I say it resonated with me, I mean that it touched something so deep, yet had been on the surface on all those dozens and dozens of blog posts I'd written, all the conversations with family and friends, and all that I even keep to myself, without even recognizing it, unable to articulate it. I hadn't realized how deep it was, how much I had begun to reconcile these losses, how much I had begun to understand it and what it means, until I read your post. So I thank you for that. And for so much more.

    I wish that we could be more open about our emotions. I don't mean becoming some blubbering society, of course, but more self-aware. Because I do believe that acknowledging what you feel is a great first step — to get it over with, cry it out, and then figure it out. Because experiences aren't just a once and done thing but a process — it's not so easy to shut yourself off from something and continue on and I don't know if we ever really should. It's really nice to see that you're able to be that understanding to those in your life. The world could use more of that, too.

    Thanks for this post, Grace, and the quote of which I'd never before seen. Looking forward to seeing where this lesson leads to next, personally, and looking forward to a lot more from you!

    Have a wonderful new year!

  • http://modite.com/ Rebecca

    Hm… everyone's comment is so sweet and eloquent and touching. I'm not so sure that I agree. Of course, it depends on the loss, but I think after a certain amount of times that you've been pushed to the ground, it only makes sense to get right back up. I've been hurt over and over again throughout my life, as I'm sure everyone has, and this year I was extremely hurt by someone I thought was a good friend, and each such incident only strengthens my resolve to not waste time and energy on such situations and people. And I like to wallow and get all sticky with hurt and disappointment. I'm a huge F (ENFP-wise), but sometimes it's too overwhelming to let that control your life.

    Better people will come into your life. There are men out there who are truly amazing, friends that are loyal and fun, additions to your family that will bring joy.

    I'm not suggesting denial of emotions. I'm a big believer in crying it out when need be, but just to also recognize when it's time to move on. Recognize the excitement when you find your strength.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Rebecca Although I can't speak for others (commenting) my thoughts were less about getting back up after you fall (which I wholeheartedly agree with) and more about acknowledging the pain you've felt, not storing it away, then moving forward even though it might have changed you or caused you strife.

    I do like your point about moving on. As a 'F' as well, I know where you're coming from.

    I will say that each of us as human beings don't have a specific emotional timeline. It varies for each person, so there isn't just one way to heal and 'move on.' As always, good points and I'm glad you brought up the other side.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Jennifer I always say, “Truth alone triumphs,” because it comes out sooner or later. It can be freeing as well. It sounds like you know yourself well, which is important for expressing yourself and sticking to your guns. Good to hear :) and thanks for sharing!

  • chelseatalkssmack

    This is beautiful and true. I would rather face loss and move through it than deny it, its jsut more sand that makes the pearl right?

  • http://notsoliteral.com/ JR Moreau

    Beautiful post Grace. I totally believe in taking things on the chin and bearing the brunt of reality up front. I'm not one for dwelling though and have a tough time dealing with those who dwell too much and let it keep them from moving forward. Sometimes life's ass kickings leave us stronger and sometimes they leave us humbled. Either way, I'm sort of a fan of the “Fight Club” mentallity… how much can you know about yourself unless you've been in a fight? Pain is a great teacher.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Chelsea Love it. “It's just more sand that makes the pearl…” I will have to keep reminding myself of this.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @JR Thank you! Pain is a great teacher, as I like to say, “It puts hair on your chest.” Ha and much like the Fight Club mentality. Just like the post I wrote, about adversity being gilded with hope, holding on is worth it because the aftermath leaves you stronger and eventually, better and more equipped. Thank you for the thoughts!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @Chelsea Love it. “It's just more sand that makes the pearl…” I will have to keep reminding myself of this.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.blogspot.com Grace Boyle

    @JR Thank you! Pain is a great teacher, as I like to say, “It puts hair on your chest.” Ha and much like the Fight Club mentality. Just like the post I wrote, about adversity being gilded with hope, holding on is worth it because the aftermath leaves you stronger and eventually, better and more equipped. Thank you for the thoughts!

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  • Alyssacho

    this thing isnt even how to find the thingthat is small that i lost