Grief and Loss: Finding Purpose and Meaning

Loss is an unavoidable fact of life that we all experience, and it can come in all forms from job loss, divorce, unemployment, relocation, and of course, the most obvious, the death of someone we love. The truth is, for most of us, we’d love nothing more than to forget about the word “death” and to move on with life, turning the other cheek. The problem is, when we lose sight of the experience of loss, we also lose sight of the preciousness of the moment and of life.

In a previous blog post here, psychotherapist and author Susan Berger, Ed.D., LICSW, talked about her own struggles with loss at a very young age. She said:

“I was reminded about my own mortality, and my sense of urgency to experience life as much as possible and make a difference in the world.”

When we look toward the bandaged wound, as Rumi says, we can pause and take a moment to look at the deeper questions in life and it is here where we find a sense of purpose and meaning.

Ron Pies, MD, talked about how the deaths of 50 passengers on continental flight 3407 “put everything in perspective.” It seems that we need death to pop us into the present moment sometimes to remind us of what is most important in life.

Or maybe we just need to be reminded of death as may be happening as you read these words of this post. In his book Grieving Mindfully, Sameet Kumar Ph.D. shows us that through the process of grief, we can find our eyes open to life.

I want to invite you to take a moment right now (just 1 minute) and consider what and who is most important in your life. Is there something that has been on your mind that you’ve wanted to express to that person, but just haven’t found the time or the motivation?

Author Stephen Levine sums it up with a single question: “If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say and why are you waiting?”

We may not need death to remind us of what is most important after all.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Who did this question remind you of? Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on

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