When bad things happen, you can either let it: define you, destroy you or strengthen you. ~ unknown.

I’ve been urging you to make plans, to think about your Next Chapter. Build a support system, get a structure in place, talk to your family and life partner, if you have one, about what, how and where you’d like to live in retirement. It’s my thing. You know, start to map it out. What I haven’t talked about is when those plans of yours go crashing to the ground.

Not for everyone. Hopefully not for you. But they might and they can. Bad shit really does happen to people and those people had life partners, families, appointments next week, bills waiting to be paid. If we’re lucky there is at least a bit of time to say good-bye and wrap a few things up. Think David Bowie. But for others there is no time; their life partner goes out for a bike ride and never returns. And we surely all know about the horrors of the escalating acts of violence; the grandmother who went to Bible study where a gunman opens fire at the end of the hour. The devoted life partner of 30 years who says, “I have decided I’m attracted to the same sex and our marriage is over.”

We can’t even begin to plan for these types of endings. We can surely have some pieces in place such as making sure our wills are done and easily located, our wishes for end of life care known to others, life insurance policies paid up. Those pieces are however just small items for those left behind.

But what if you’re the one left behind? What happens then? First things first ~ get yourself good help. A therapist, a spiritual counselor, a wise and trusted friend. Likely all three will be called upon. Second piece; make sure you’re aware that re-balancing after a sudden ending will take time. Lots of time. It makes me want to scream when people come to me and say, “my_____ (fill in the blank that is most appropriate) died/left me 2 months ago/6 months ago/a year ago and I should be over it by now.” Folks, there is no promised time line on when you’ll feel better! You are likely going to feel slightly different at 6 months than you did at 2 months and a wee bit different at 12 months than 6 months but it still going to be awful.

Please, cut yourself some slack if you ever find yourself in this position or know someone who is there. Getting better, making a new plan, figuring out who you are now that the shock is wearing off, is going to just take time. We can’t rush time, nor should we.

Now, since we’re promised only today I am going to urge you to get outside, soak in some wonderfulness and enjoy what you have.

All the best for your week!

~ Lisa