I’d like to introduce Mark Smyth as my featured guest blogger. I have watched Mark as he’s journeyed through some tremendous losses and have always been amazed at his positive outlook on life and death. He is resilient and keeps on moving forward in life with such a positive attitude. I asked him if he’d be willing to share his story and he graciously obliged me. I am grateful and blessed to share Mark’s story on grief, loss, and resiliency with you. May it bring you hope and peace.
I think, too often, people assume grief only arises due to the death of a loved one. But grief is not about death, it’s about loss. I have found that I have many losses for which I feel a profound sadness. The magic of Christmas traditions from childhood that are now just distant memories, the end of a 24-year marriage that I thought would last a lifetime, even a proud moment like helping my daughter move away to college brought sadness at the realization that I was losing one of my closest friends.
My father died back in 2000. I still have days where I miss him immensely, but I don’t feel sad because he is dead. I feel sad because I no longer have the opportunity to have conversations with him and share our life stories. When I hit milestones in my life I wish I could compare notes with him on how he was feeling when he hit those same milestones.
My favorite uncle lived in another state and passed away before my children ever had a chance to meet him. I only saw him once or twice a year when I was growing up, but his kindness and wisdom had a significant impact on who I am today. I still feel a sense of sorrow that my children never got to meet one of my childhood icons.
I used to believe that death was the end of a lifetime. Now I look at it more like a graduation. Graduation is a scary yet exciting time of transition for the graduate. It’s also a time of celebration for the successful completion of a worthwhile endeavor. But it also brings about some sorrow for the underclassmen that are left behind. I applaud my parents and my aunts and uncles for having successfully graduated from the school of life, and I look forward to my own graduation day. But until then, I miss their presence and still think about the wonderful times we had when they were still “in school.”
Loss comes in many forms and the grief that is associated with those losses is as unique as the loss itself. I have found that the most important aspect of dealing with grief is self-compassion. Allow yourself to experience your grief in your own unique way. And if you find yourself struggling to get back to a sense of “normal,” know that there are resources available (like Teresa Bitner) to help.
- Mark Smyth
Mark is a lover of life and an avid listener of smooth jazz. He enjoys nature walks and is drawn to the peaceful serenity of waterfalls. He finds strength in his belief that we are all connected as one big spiritual family.
Are you or someone you know struggling with grief and loss and want to move forward again? I partner with self-driven people who keep getting knocked down by life's changes and loss who want to build resiliency and move forward in life. Together we work to move forward to live boldly and fulfilled.
Check out my website or email me to learn more. Let’s connect. If you want more resiliency, change, loss, and life tips register for my newsletter – to the right of this blog.
PS. Want to share your story with me as a guest blogger? Comment and contact me.
Peace, Love, & Blessings,
Teresa Bitner, PMP, M. Ed., ACC
Grief Resources - Click on the links below
Grief in General Resource
Coping with Grief and Loss
Bereavement & Grief Resources