How we can begin to prepare for loss
In less than three months, we will have our annual Presidential election. By then, Mitt and Barak will have criss-crossed America and filled our minds with facts, feelings and funny (and some not-so-funny) stories about themselves, their families, their childhoods, and why we should vote for them. And then Election Day will come, and one of them will lose. How will his supporters feel about that?
That loss will be a grief-moment for half of America.
It will be like the death of a loved one, a man we believed in and supported and whose candidacy we argued for, and then he will gracefully concede, for that is the American way. Those who voted for him will then have to grieve his loss, and move on. How will they do that, and how will their grief not consume them?
It will not be a whole lot different than the death of any other loved one, just that this loved one became a public figure, many of us identified with him and with what he stood for.
I was twelve years old when my Daddy died.
But even worse than his death, was that we didn’t know each other that well at all while he was alive. He was a hard worker who left for work every day before I woke up and returned every night after I was in bed. I never saw him during the week, only on weekends. So the issue was not only that he died, the real issue was that we had no real father-son relationship. When he died, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference for me from when he lived. It was the missing relationship that was so important, and we didn’t have one.
I was angry and depressed and yes, even fearful. How would I get along without my Daddy? Who would be my father-figure? Who would teach me about life? What would I miss the most about him, and how could I go on without him? I was confused and feeling all alone. I couldn’t sleep well for a long time. I was, I guess, feeling sorry for myself, I was hopeless and helpless and had no idea how to move ahead in my life.
On the horizon
I’m afraid that’s what’s ahead for the half of Americans whose candidate loses the election. What will we need to do?
Here are three tips about dealing with loss, the loss of a loved one or the loss of an election:
- We only learn anything important about ourselves by how we respond to the losses in our lives. We Americans will need to talk about the loss, and what it means to us. That’s called grief.
- Loss is our teacher. So we will have to figure out to figure out what the “life-lessons” of this loss are. That’s called mourning.
- Teachers should be honored. Those whose candidate triumphed must be respected and honored. And so must those whose candidate did not. That’s called healing.
But the most important issue is not even who wins or loses, it is how we must all move forward and create an America that is loving and caring and compassionate, so that our kids will respect and emulate us. Some of us will rejoice, others will grieve. We must talk to each other, come together and plan together for the future.
Now that will be something we can all celebrate!