In 2013, I interviewed a former classmate from Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Dr. Kathleen Huebner. So many readers of my three syndicated blogs were struggling with loss. Huebner explained how she was coping with the black emotional hole created by the death of her mother. Here is that interview.
But, that kind of information and insight is on the micro or personal level. What our society, which is becoming overwhelmed with change, needs is for thought leadership to put out there fresh paradigms about getting from how it used to be to what can be in the future.
In short, job number-one for thought leaders, dealing with values (such as David Brooks with his "Road to Character"), is to transform "over" into "open." What has ended doesn't have to represent loss. Instead, it can be joyously positioned and packaged as possibility.
At work, a colleague told us at lunch about how her family had been the group caretaker for a dying relative. Their house was where the cancer patient spent six happy weeks, before the hospice was became where she needed to be.
After she died, this co-worker explained how proud she was that she could have assisted with that passage. However, she was a bit stunned that the deceased's daughter sent her ashes. "It's over," she said. "Now, new people I can be there for can enter my little life."
After my dog, Molly Mittens, died on the vet's table of congestive heart failure, I indicated, "No ashes." I had to shift to paying more attention the felines, Jason and Carlotta. That was the right decision. However, I still got stuck in pet grief.
When over becomes a symbol of new beginnings the transition phases might not be so jarring. Instead of looking back, we can focus ahead for how to welcome what is coming.