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Life After Loss

This blog is going to focus on loss. And not the loss of hair that we suffer, nor the loss that the Leafs endured last Spring.

In life, we all suffer loss. Many suffer it early in life, some later on. Never is there a right time for loss. But, coping with it is something we must all approach delicately, yet with purpose.

We lose customers, we lose friendships. We lose our temper and we often lose our keys. Some lose weight, and some lose their mind. How does one cope with these losses?

In my practice, patients often do not know where to turn when they are dealing with loss. Some confide in me openly and honestly, whereas others turn and run. Being in practice for nearly 10 years, I have been the sounding board for dozens of sufferers. Combined with my personal experiences in loss, I have learned a few things along the way that I hope help you and your loved ones during times of despair.

My late Dad taught me that “time heals all.” The passage of time is one constant that we can all rely on. Time and life move forward, and the initial shock and pain we endure gradually fade.

A good friend showed me the power of humour when healing. Finding the ability to laugh with others makes the heart feel at ease, and ultimately heal.

Writing and discussing your feelings with a trained professional. Get out of your comfort zone and find a qualified counsellor or psychologist whom you can confide in.

Join a support group. Knowing that you are not alone can empower you to get out of the depths of despair that we all feel at one point or another.

Know that loss and death are a normal part of life. Death is still a taboo subject in our society. The more we discuss it with our children, our parents and our friends, the easier it becomes to accept the finality of it.

Read a book on loss. This allows us not only to escape from our pain, but also to identify with the characters in the story. Reading is a wonderful way to cope. A short list of some of my favourites: The Last Lecture, Heaven Is For Real, The Shack and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Know that it is ok to cry. Openly. Anywhere. Crying is a way of letting our emotions run free. You will always feel better after a good cry.

Know that you have done all you could have. Loss is never your fault; it is simply nature running its course. With that being said, make sure you tell those around you that you love them.

Know that coping is an ongoing process. You will have sad days when you least expect them, as well as happy days when you least expect them. Embrace each sad moment, and move forward from it. There is no shame in being happy, nor is there shame in sadness. Never feel guilty for once again enjoying the little things in life. That is the joy that comes from a loss.

The topic of loss makes for extremely thought-provoking chats. Explore it with your friends and family members. Talk to co-workers about loss. Do not avoid talking about loss. When enduring the pain of coping, take a step back from your chaotic life and look at the simple joys. These can often be found in the solace of nature, the smell of a fresh pot of coffee, the laughter of a child. Enjoy the change of the seasons, and the fresh air. Life is all around you.

Written in loving memory of Lou Guker. We will always miss you.

Dr. Mark Guker is a chiropractor and owner of ReAlign Health on Eagle Street. For more information, please visit http://www.realignhealth.com or follow him on Twitter @drmarkguker