Dear Liz,

Can you explain why I still feel the heavy loss on my heart about Kobe Bryant, his daughter and the other precious beings killed in the recent helicopter crash? I have the pictures of all those killed on my refrigerator and pray for each and all daily if not more. And for their families and loved ones. I think it could be because I have my own children who are young athletes on travel teams for soccer. As does my sister, brother and their children and teens. Maybe too close to home? I have been more aware and present with my own kids since and encourage others to do the same. It still hurts deep in the pit of my stomach. Am I taking this too personally?

Grieving

Dear “Grieving,”

Thank you for sharing your vulnerable pain. I believe so many of us can relate for the reasons you stated. I know that was true for me — with my granddaughters on travel volleyball teams. It was a relatable tragedy with several facets from sudden the loss of their beautiful futures to our admiration of Kobe and the other parents’ diligent involvement in their children’s lives. It set an example for each and all of us. I love your comment about being more “aware and present” with our children and grandchildren (put down those phones.) I believe that the tragedy can become a timely wake up call that we are only promised today. And to make the most of it. I love the saying “the best thing to spend on your kids is time.” As for honoring those lost and praying for them, if it serves you and your family, that is a kind action you can take. Only you and your family can decide if it becomes too much of a distraction or obsession. Be mindful of any unresolved losses in your past because a public loss like this can trigger “frozen grief” or things which may need your attention to work through. I think we honor those lost when we can make the lives of others better as a result.

Dear Liz,

Valentine’s Day. Humph! Bah humbug! As a widow, it bothers me to have so many reminders in our faces that I no longer have a “Valentine” in my life. It’s hard enough.

Boo

Dear “Boo,”

I hear you. I look at February as “love month” and Valentine’s Day as “love day.” We have a choice to sulk and feel worse. Or spend the month and day celebrating those we love, be it a friend, neighbor, child, grandchild, even a pet. “We are that we may have joy” but it is a choice. If you find that not possible, you need some help with your grief or resentment which could be turning into depression. Anger turned inward can be depression.

Don’t be alone. Find others in your situation and go laugh together at a reasonably priced lunch, movie, walk on the beach or other meaningful activity. And those who know someone alone or lonely, find a way to reach out as well. We all need love and to give love. Find a way that matters to you.

Contact Liz via asklizchs@outlook.com. Liz Brisacher Sharp is a Master degree level Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice with 35 years experience in mental health.

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