Getting Un-Stuck: Loss, Uncertainty, and the Gift of New Beginnings

I wrote this last year: Loss is a difficult thing, no matter what kind it is. A spouse, a job, a child, a pet. 

It just hurts. Getting unstuck from the sadness of loss can be overwhelming.

Sometimes we get stuck in the what if’s, why didn’t I’s, why did I do that’s. Know that what has occurred in the past is just that, the past. We were given those moments to cherish and love. Those memories, and seeing them as a gift, is key to embracing the exciting adventures that await.

As the anniversary of my husband’s death approaches and I reflect on the good that has come in to my life since he passed – this piece landed in my inbox yesterday:

We Look With Uncertainty

We look with uncertainty
beyond the old choices for
clear-cut answers
to a softer, more permeable aliveness
which is every moment
at the brink of death;
for something new is being born in us
if we but let it.
We stand at a new doorway,
awaiting that which comes…
daring to be human creatures,
vulnerable to the beauty of existence.
Learning to love.

~ Anne Hillman

As a person who over thinks everything, this quote showed up at the perfect time. Two years after Jim passed away, I am learning so much. Grief is a process that occurs for a long, long time. It gets better – much, much better – but it is always a part of you.

Remembering to listen to yourself and learn from your inner dialog and feelings is occasionally difficult. In the midst of your grief, however, you do not know what you are learning (nor do you really care. Ha!)

In these moments of grief, I have to be reminded that I am not defined by my moments of loss or of triumph. Instead, we are defined by the moments in between when we learn to be better human beings.

This is true for job loss, a break up, a death – any type of loss. You get stuck – but then you become unstuck and look back with clarity on the lessons learned.

How do we learn the mistakes of our past? Were we present? Were we thoughtful & kind? Did we lose ourselves or force the other to lose their identity?

Do we dwell in the pain of loss, or revel in the possibilities that are our current situation?

How do we honor that past while moving forward?

Death brings sadness – but it also brings new life. Be open to new and more fulfilling opportunities by applying what you have learned in your moments of elation and despair.

Do we love again? Do we try that project or idea again? Do we even try to add another pet to our life? These questions are applicable to any new beginning. The highs are so good, but the lows are so bad.

Are we willing to risk the lows to have the possibilities of those highs?

How do even begin to answer these questions?

The clarity only comes to me if I write as I am in the midst of “stuck-ness” and extreme questioning. I am completely incapable of objectivity during these times. And that, in my opinion, is a good thing. In these moments when I write, the truths that come out are where my real growth occurs. It also the way I get un-stuck. From reflection comes growth – and the new possibilities that are born from that growth.

Honor the past, but be open to the new possibilities that come from this growth and change. Life is a big adventure with deep valleys and high peaks. The only constant is the uncertainty of what will happen next. We just need to be open the goodness that will come from it.

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson

My name is Hannah Stonehouse Hudson. Best known for my photography and overly sunny attitude towards life, I wear many hats: a photographer, writer, adventurer, and dog lover.

Like many people, I have had so many crazy things happen in my life that I don’t know where I would be without these events. Whether it’s a world famous photo, moving constantly, traveling around the world, having a near death experience during a miscarriage, or losing my husband unexpectedly, I am at my best in chaos. Change is what I am good at!

I am here to show you that the best can come from the worst. Life is short. Do good things. Pursue your dreams. You won't regret it.

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