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President's Corner


ask-elizabeth3
 


Hello!


You may notice that our website highlights my dog and friend, Natasha. We were updating this website when she died on June 25, 2009. Since her smiling face has been part of The Center’s website and many printed materials, it is appropriate to talk about what her loss means.

 

Natasha was an important part of my life for almost 14 years. She was with me for all the significant events, good and bad. The loss of a beloved pet represents a huge emotional loss because of the relationship we had with them.

 

There are many kinds of loss. And, relationships can be one of the most significant losses we experience. Someone dies and we feel a loss. We lose someone through divorce or they move away or the relationship ends for a variety of reasons.

 

We can also lose things. Losing something significant like a job, our livelihood, our house, our reputation, etc., can be emotionally devastating. Anything that represents a loss to our overall well-being can trigger feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and just overall grief.

 

Many times we’re not just grieving because we lost someone or something, but we’re grieving the loss of a dream. We’re grieving what could have been, what should have been. It is terribly difficult to give up on a dream, a goal, on something that we were counting on having, on what we worked so hard to get.

 

Some of our losses we never truly get over. We may accept that yes, the loss did happen, but we experience the grief again after some trigger (like a smell, photo, a memory, or a new loss). In my case, losing Natasha brought back feelings of grief in losing my parents.

 

All of us experience loss in our life, usually many times. None of us can escape the grief associated with each loss, but we can get through it and overcome it so that it doesn’t keep us from continuing to live a successful and happy life.

 

So, how do we cope? We let ourselves feel. We lean on our support system and relationships. We talk about our feelings to someone we trust. We think about the good memories. We rely on our faith. We keep getting up each morning and putting one foot in front of the other. We get back into our routine even though we don’t feel like it. And when those moments of sadness wash over us, we allow it, and we ride the wave and move forward.

 

When we’re grieving what could have been, we need to change our dreams and goals. Because life doesn’t turn out the way we want it to, it doesn’t mean that we give up altogether. Let’s just make another goal, another dream or wish, and start working toward it.

 

And while we cope with our losses, we can take comfort in recognizing what we do have, and remember the blessings life gives to us. We can be confident that we have the strength to cope with the inevitable losses when they happen.

 
Best regards,
Elizabeth Parchoc, LCSW

 

 

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