Naming the Loss

I wrote this blog a few months ago and never pressed “publish”… reading it now, it’s helpful to me as I navigate more losses – adjusting to my new job, selling our home that we’ve living in for 10 years, and preparing to leave our loving church community. Naming the losses in ANY change (“good” or “bad” changes) can be helpful.


I helped facilitate a silent retreat recently, which meant that I was a part of a team I’d never worked with before. I felt uncertain of expectations, needs, and my role. At one point, I thought, “I wouldn’t be bumbling along here if I was working with Anita and Melinda – we knew what our roles were, each others’ strengths, and needs. I miss that.” That thought made me deeply sad.

I’m realizing how important it is for me to put a name to my losses.

When my father-in-law died, I lost not only his gracious, warm, loving presence in my life, but I also lost a sense of stability. I lost a voice of wisdom in my life. It’s been helpful for me to name those pieces of loss – even though it’s been years since he died.

When I lost my job, it took me a while to see more clearly that it’s not really the job that I was missing. (Even in the awkward vacuum of the in-between, I wouldn’t want to go back. It wouldn’t be the same – everything has changed.) I lost community – my team that was very close. I lost purpose – I loved the mission of my job and felt great meaning in my activities.  I lost my identity – for 20+ years, I was my productivity and work. To lose community, purpose, and identity is huge. These are no small losses. It’s no wonder that I didn’t quickly move on to the next thing. There’s a lot of healing that God is doing in my life – especially around my purpose and identity. I’m so grateful for my new community that God is bringing around me.

Have you had times when naming the losses was helpful?

4 thoughts on “Naming the Loss

  1. jjanosz

    Yes. I think naming is a big thing. And sometimes we just aren’t ready. I remember wanting to write after my own dad died. And I just couldn’t. Naming it made it too real, to hurtful. So naming also means that the healing has begun. Miss you, Lori.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think that’s a big part of it for me. I tend to just feel the surface pain/grief without actually taking time to be present to the nuance of the deeper work going on. I feel the bigger/present pain of an event, but there are so many other things going on, deeper down, if I take the time to listen. And in the process of paying attention, it’s helpful for me to put words to what I’m feeling and seeing. There’s a lot of power to telling our stories, too (a la Brene Brown).


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