What We Learn From Tragic Loss...

As human beings we are seldom equipped with the capabilities to accept loss of any kind.  Whether it be loss of a relationship, job, or even tangible item, loss brings a physical separation and subsequent longing for what we no longer have.

And then there’s death; loss in its ultimate form.  While other losses may only be temporary, as in you can find another job or enter a new relationship, the permanent loss that accompanies death is often the hardest part to reconcile.

Early in the dialogue with a client family, we’ll discuss the nature of their loved one’s death, to whatever degree they are comfortable.  Many come to the table after being the longtime caregivers having witnessing their loved one wage a valiant yet tiring battle.  They will say they’re prepared for their loss but we quickly come to agree, loss and that final physical separation is something for which you can never prepare.

And then there is unexpected loss.  Loss of an unspeakable kind.  The loss that happens without warning, reason or rhyme.  You wake up one morning ready to step into the world you know yet you return to bed that evening in a life so unfamiliar and unfair.  These losses rob us from every basic sense of security.  In light of the horrific news the world watched yesterday, when the iconic Kobe Bryant and his beautiful young daughter, along with renown coach John Altobelli and his family, were victims of that ill fated helicopter ride, we are called to acknowledge the frailty of human life. 

The loss that impacted the world this past weekend demonstrates the effects that shocking loss imposes on all of us.  When we are stopped in the midst of our tracks by a devastating phone call or a horrific news report, the life we knew is no longer.  Sudden and tragic losses affect us regardless if we knew the victims personally, because we realize the common denominator that unites us all; tomorrow is promised to no one.  None of us know the moment in which our Creator will beckon.

While these lessons can cause immense sadness, we should channel them into a greater good.  The fragile nature of life should heighten our appreciation of it.  Getting out of bed in the morning, as daunting as it seems, is nothing short of a gift.  Getting in your car, the ability to drive to work, or even greater, the ability to walk into the office, all of these are gifts.  The stress of kids, school and activities, yes, they weigh on us most times, but they are gifts, nonetheless.  Any of us, at any moment, can be the victim of tragedy or on the receiving end of tragic news.  Heed the warning, if you will, not to linger in morbid fear, but rather to embrace the life you’ve been given and see it with renewed appreciation.


In loving memory of all who have left this earth too soon…