Keep Moving Forward but Give Yourself Time to Grieve Your Losses Notes FromThe Field FieldLawPC.com 818-369-7900
It was a typical Sunday afternoon in Southern California on Jan. 26. It was sunny and warm, and my family and I decided to have a barbecue out in the backyard. My parents and three grandchildren were over, and we were having a great, relaxing time. Then, all of a sudden, I noticed the smell of burning plastic and looked up to see smoke coming out of the garage; a fire had broken out in there. We quickly got everyone out and at a safe distance while we called the fire department. The fortunate part about this was that no one was ever in danger; my grandkids didn’t even realize what was going on. Once the fire was put out, we assessed the damage. The garage was completely destroyed, and the rest of the house suffered from major smoke damage to the point where everything was a total loss. All our furnishings and personal belongings were not salvageable, and the house will have to be gutted — completely stripped down to the studs. While we won’t be able
to move back in until around November, we are staying as positive as we can. We have a place to stay and food to eat, and no one got hurt.
This unexpected journey I’ve found myself on these past few months has reminded me quite a lot of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels, “The Lord of the Rings.” My family and I have left the comforts of the Shire and embarked on a journey we never expected to be on, but like the hobbits, we will keep moving forward, come what may. However, while life might lead us down this path, we also know how important it is to give ourselves time to look at our journey. The Tolkien novels are filled with loss and difficulties, but the characters continue to stay strong. I think this applies to all aspects of life. When you lose someone or something so unexpectedly and abruptly, it hurts, and sometimes, we try to push beyond that pain and loss too fast. Our world today tends to focus on getting over and moving on from loss, but that’s not how we should approach it. Everyone needs to take the time to process loss and know that it’s okay to go through that pain. We should all take time to grieve and care for our hearts and souls. Right now, despite the chaotic aftermath of the fire, that is exactly where my focus is. I’m doing everything I can to take care of my family and their well-being — physically, mentally, and spiritually. I’ve also realized this experience echoes in the work I do with people. When a client comes into my office whose parents or other family members have passed away, many of them think they have to get moving and take care of everything as soon as they can, but that’s not true at all. Loss, for the most part, is one of the most unexpected journeys we’ll all take at least once, and those losses matter. It’s important to realize it’s okay when you can’t move on from it as fast as the world might be telling you to. I can tell you from experience that days, weeks, or even years aren’t enough to get over the loss of your father, mother, spouse, all your belongings, or your home. As we continue down this unknown path for the next few months, my family and I will continue to support one another and wonder where our adventure will take us. As Sam Gamgee, Frodo’s dearest friend in “The Lord of the Rings” once said, “I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?”
Two of my grandchildren with the firefighter who heroically put out the fire.
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