• Shannon Caravello

Navigating Through Loss

Loss is heavy. Some, heavier than others, but at heart, loss is flat out distressing. This was what the remainder of my 2018 was like; weird and bittersweet. I was struck with an untimely loss, in the midst of leaving my full time job.

I lost a close, favorite aunt of mine, very suddenly. I was sad, hurt and confused. The pain and confusion I felt, was the type that shuts you down. It wasn’t the kind of pain that you could easily overcome. It wasn’t the kind of pain that stimulated or inspired you to create. It was a ruthless pain that silenced me, and paralyzed me. This was what the remainder of my 2018 was like.

The holidays were rough. I lost myself, a huge chunk of me at least. I tried very hard to be strong and pick up the pieces. Only, they weren’t ready to be picked up just yet. I couldn’t bring myself to write. I couldn’t understand any of my thoughts. I tried listening to music, but I couldn’t be moved. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy much of anything. I was in “auto-pilot” mode most of the time, for the mere fact that I had two little ones depending on me to be there for them.

I buried myself in social media, mindlessly scrolling, and foolishly thinking that it could inspire me, but the reality was, that it only distracted me temporarily. I tried finding happiness again in shopping, you know? Retail therapy? “Treat yo’self”? I threw in an occasional mani/pedi, to see if I’d feel like myself again. But the truth was, I wasn’t. This kind of pain and confusion was different. It was a heavy grief, that mani/pedi’s, retail therapy, inspirational quotes, or workouts couldn’t mask or heal.

It was a grief that needed time. I needed time. Time for grief, much like the flu, to take its course. The grief that needed me to go through each motion. I needed time to make sense of it all. Time, that needed my tears to plant the seeds of strength, that I’d soon reap the benefits of; I just required a bit of patience, and faith. I allowed myself to feel that grief, embraced it even, and loved myself through it.

Time helped. Eventually, when my thoughts were more collected, talking helped too. Family helped. Tremendously! Through our grief together, there, lay my strength. Through many, daily FaceTimes, and phone calls, beautiful tears, and meals of love, I found my strength. I don’t like to call myself a very religious person, but I have quiet faith, and through prayers, I found more strength.

Time passed, and I began to release every expectation I had of myself. I accepted this phase of life for what it was. Why? Because it was teaching me resilience. It was teaching me what life is simply and truly about: loving with our all, and letting go with our all, this bittersweet circle of life.

As 2018 came to a close, I began to reminisce on my year, as one instinctively does. I thought of every moment the year gave me, both good and bad, and with a sweet figurative hug, I let 2018 go.

Through tear-filled eyes, I boldly looked out to the present with renewed hope, renewed faith, and a new sense of appreciation for life. There are people who are here and present for me, who I, in turn, need to be present for. I was blessed and fortunate to be carried into this year, into new memories, into new adventures.

Music slowly began to have meaning again. Writing in my planner helped me see my tasks through. I picked up my camera, and began taking pictures again. I slowly found bits of myself, and I still am.

Loss, grief and confusion affect all of us, in some way or another. Please know, you are never alone. Surrounding myself with family and giving myself unconditional time to heal and process, ultimately helped me the most.

There’s no sure way to heal from loss, nor is there a specific timeline, but listen to your inner self, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. However you respond to loss and grief, remember to love yourself hard through it all, and be very gentle with yourself. You are a resilient, and deserving human. Don’t give up on you.


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