The silver lining of loss

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Is there a silver lining to loss? Could there be something good that comes out of the losses we face in our lives? When I think of my children and the loss they’ve experienced already in their short lives, can I give them any hope of gains that might come from their loss?

I’m not sure of the answers to these questions but they are questions I’d like to ponder. When I think about some of the losses I’ve experienced they are bitter sweet actually. Jobs I’ve lost or left – all had good and not so good elements to them. Friendships that have changed over time have given me the gift of friendship, if only for a season. My Dad passing away 4 years ago was the biggest loss I have experienced but without that loss I wouldn’t be able to appreciate how much he meant to me.

Of course the kind of loss children experience who’ve been adopted is a different thing altogether, but I do wonder if we can find some hope in those losses – something that would be a silver lining to their loss. We have to understand of course the depth of that loss and just what an impact it has on them and how they feel about themselves. I know mine can’t really articulate the feelings of loss and sadness but I know it comes out in their behaviours and in their interpretations of the relationships they have. Will people stick around whatever happens? Are we really ‘forever’ families? How much will we put up with before we send them back? – What a terrifying way to live, to have thoughts like that in your mind?

Loss can be a devastating emotion that triggers lots of other emotions – Bryan Post talks about the two main emotions we have – love and fear. Most other emotions seem to stem from those two. Many times what our children experience and live daily is fear based. The fear of loss once you’ve really experienced it must be tremendous. It’s not difficult to see why they struggle so much with trusting adults when they’ve lived the loss of respect, dignity, promises, love, protection and presence of the people who should have been there for them the most.

So not seeing much of a silver lining at the moment. Is there one for our kids? Well I believe there’s always one to be found – it may take a long time and it’s not to say we would ever have wanted them to experience the things they have in order to find a silver lining – the clouds are still huge but the tiny silver lining is some small glimpse of something good that might be found. Here are a few suggestions (and these were really difficult for me to see):

  • One day they may be able to use their loss to help others in the same situation.
  • One day what they’ve experienced may help them to push through other painful times in their lives.
  • One day they may be able to see the blessing of a community of people who have helped them when they most needed it.
  • One day they may be able to understand forgiveness in a way I could never understand it.
  • One day they may see the strength of the relationships they have kept throughout their lives – like the siblings who’ve stayed together.

Wow I must admit this has been a very difficult blog for me to think about and write – is there really a silver lining in such horrible circumstances? And it feels like just saying that is dismissing the depth of the loss BUT that’s not my intention. The loss has happened and as much as we’d like it to not have we can’t do anything about it. My daughter sometimes talks about wishing her life had been different – that she could start all over again and I desperately wish that for her too – but she can’t. My pray is that someday she will be able to see a silver lining to her loss – however small that lining might be.


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