Lessons in Loss by Jessica Roesener

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Who would have known our lives would have led us here? If you would have told me five months ago this is where I would be, I would have never believed you. But here we are, in a club in which no one wants to belong, all sharing a loss greater than we ever could have imagined.

Yes, I am early on in my loss journey, only four months, but to me, anyone of us can provide the gift of second. Since the loss of my mother to suicide, I have learned some profound lessons that I want to share with you, in hopes that maybe some of them will resonate with you as well. They may not make sense now, tomorrow, or even a month from now.  But someday, somewhere in the future I hope these lessons come back to you and provide a little help in your healing journey. I, too, often have to remind myself of these lessons and will probably need to do so for a very long time.

Lesson 1: If you let it, this loss will teach you things about yourself that you never knew.

You will learn about your strength, your resilience, your perseverance, your value and your contributions to this world. People constantly ask me how I am ever able to do what I do with what I have lost, and the only answer that I can ever give them is, “You never know what you are able to do until a situation is thrust upon you.”  You can and will get through this and come out a stronger person. Yes, there will be work and yes it will be hard, but you will find your new normal and find your way to happiness again. There is no set time, but you can and will get there.

Lesson 2: You have been given a gift.

Although it doesn’t seem like it now, and may not for a while, your gift is KNOWLEDGE. The

knowledge of the importance of your life in the hearts of others, and how losing you would impact them greatly. No matter how bad the circumstances or feelings you are experiencing, you now have the knowledge that you would never want to make anyone you love feel and go through what you are going through now. And maybe one day, you will be able to share your knowledge as a loss survivor to help others like you.

Lesson 3: What we learn once they are gone…

I feel that I know my mother more intimately today, four months after she took her own life, than I did in the 36 years we shared together. I have let those revelations resonate with me, the good and the bad, but in her absence, I have found a different closeness to her that I missed when she was alive. Do I still want her here? Every second of every day. But since that can’t happen, instead I take these revelations from her and try to apply them into my own life to better myself and help me get through my grief.

Lesson 4:  The good, the bad, and the ugly

This grief process is not linear and from day to day, minute to minute our feelings of our loss and who we lost will change. But if you let it there is learning from all of them. Let yourself learn what makes the good and use it. Learn what creates the bad and try to build pathways around it. The ugly? Just try to plain avoid it as best you can. There will always be ugly triggers, no matter how far in our journey we get.  But if you recognize the ugly and find ways to avoid it, you may find your journey a little less daunting.

Lesson 5: You can’t do this alone

Find ways and people to support you. Whether that is family, friends, therapists, support groups, or others. Allow people in, let them help you, and be there for you the best way they can be.  All these people in your life are there because they care and want to help. Allow them.  I know it’s hard to trust after a loss like this, but we were not built to handle this on our own, and we don’t get through to the other side of this without help.

Lesson 6: It’s okay

It’s okay to feel what you feel, when you feel it. It’s okay to say “no” or “I need help.”  It’s okay to try new things as you build your new normal.  It’s okay to grieve your loss for however long it takes. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to forgive and move forward and then fall back again. Finally, it’s okay to find moments of happiness. The best way we honor those we lost is by living. Making it out of the darkness and back into the light. One of my greatest lights in my loss that I have found is ways every day to make my mom proud of me.  For her to be looking down at me and saying to me “That’s my girl.”

So, to you I say, look for your own lessons in the wake of your tragedy and loss, grief and pain.  Find them, learn from them, use them, and share them with others.  The only way we get through this is together.

23 Responses

  1. Denise H Gauthier
    | Reply

    I am 2 1/2 years into my grief process in the suicide loss of my younger brother. Grief DEFINITELY ebbs and flows and there are days you think you just can’t stand the pain, BUT, it does get better. Notice I said better NOT EASIER. It will NEVER be EASY, but you learn new coping strategies and eventually are able to focus more on happy thoughts than the very sad, mind boggling loss.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Well said, easier is the word. Easier is the hope, easier is the goal!

  2. Diana Bell
    | Reply

    Well said
    This is how I have coped with the loss of my son months after implementing everything you said
    Thank you for sharing
    Peace to you

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you and peace to you as well.

  3. Lynne Henrion
    | Reply

    This is a beautifully written piece, Jessica. You covered all the bases in this grief journey. Your mother must have been amazing to raise such a wise, thoughtful person. I too lost my mother to suicide, way back in ‘99. I’ve been facilitating a suicide loss support group in Houston for almost 17 years now. I’ll share your words with them. Thank you.
    Lynne

    • Angel Campbell
      | Reply

      Amazing and so well said. It’s been two months and I thank you for writing and sharing this.

      • Jessica Roesener
        | Reply

        Thank you for reading it. I hope that at two months these ideas will give you a pathway to help you though the next two, ten, twenty months in some capacity. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you, I think she was pretty great, actually the greatest person I have ever had the pleasure to know and I got to call her mine, just mine for 36 years…how lucky I am.

  4. Debe
    | Reply

    Well said. Very – very well said.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you. Some days the words fit just right, and others they are jumbled mess. Today was a good day.

  5. Kristene Elmore
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story.
    You are wise beyond your years.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you. I feel like I have aged years in the span of months, but with age comes wisdom, so bring it on 🙂

  6. Lori
    | Reply

    9 1/2 years out from the death by suicide of my 16 1/2 year old son, and I needed to read these, still. Thank you-

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you. I have read it to myself several times today and will probably read it a lot over the coming months and years to help keep reminding myself of what I can accomplish and what were I want to be.

  7. Tammy Pauls
    | Reply

    You are so wise. I love lesson #6. It’s okay. It’s something I have done every day for 5 year since my brother passed. I can honestly say that I remember his life and not his death. It’s been a long 5 years, but I have grown through it all. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Thank you for letting me know I will get there. I am slowly, slowly replacing the how with happy memories but have a ways to travel first.

  8. Janie Miller
    | Reply

    Thank you for this writing and sharing with “us” ~ the dark night of the soul has lessons to offer ~ leaning into the pain relieves the struggle
    Janie
    Scotts Mom forever 41 ❤️🦅♥️

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Janie,
      I love that idea of the dark of night, because it just makes the light of day that much brighter.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Absolutely the more we face the dark, the brighter the light is. Thank you!

  9. Leslie R.
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing your insight in the wake of losing your dear mother. Reading it was helpful in many ways, one of which was releasing pent up tears over the very recent loss of my sister, only 4 1/2months now.
    I take it one day at a time, and try to honor the emotions that present themselves as they come, some days there is laughter again and a gratitude for things as simple as the sun shining over head, others are much more difficult. All in all, I realize I am still learning what lies ahead without her, while knowing I have been fortunate to have shared the time we had together.

    Peace to all reading this, we are forever united through our own journeys through this.

    • Jessica Roesener
      | Reply

      Leslie,
      I am so sorry for your recent loss. Yes, if there is anything I have learned in the last 4.5 months its to take each day for what it is, because the next could be completely different. Peace with you!

  10. Geri
    | Reply

    Loved this , sorry for your loss and I’m sure your mother is proud of you. I’m 21/2 months into this today and am struggling everyday with the loss of my granddaughter. I will save this and read this again to try and move on in this healing process. I hope my daughter sees this as well. Thank you and God bless!

  11. Brittany
    | Reply

    Very well written and explained. I lost my mother 4 1/2 years ago to suicide she was my best friend. I do exactly what you said try to honor her in everything I do to make her proud. The strength her death has given me surprises me daily. Prayers for peace, comfort and strength through all the waves grief sends.

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