Chantal’s desk looks out of the sunroom window onto a thick Heaven Bell hedge. She watched in silent revery as bees kissed the opening of one small white flower before flying off to the next. Beyond the hedge, the boundary wall and the large gate there was quiet. Unusual for a Monday but this Monday could either remain calm and quiet or erupt into fiery chaos.
The bees just get on with their work, mused Chantal, they have no concern about the craziness of the human race. A couple of bees had found their way into the sunroom over the weekend and perished on the carpet. Bees don’t live long but it’s still upsetting seeing them lifeless on the floor. But bees don’t worry about the deceased, they have work to do and they get on and do it.
Loss and recovery
We can’t do that, though. Human beings grieve deeply at loss. Especially the devastating loss of a loved one. A theme of loss and recovery wove a ribbon through the week. Loss showed up in our own lives and those of our clients in many different guises.
Death and divorce are losses that reverberate through the bodies and souls of all connected. These endings cause a grieving that results in a loss of part of who you are too. You can never be the same again. You never will.
This past week there was the sudden and shocking loss of Matthew’s step sister. The despair of his step mother who could not get to her bedside in time left us feeling hopelessly inadequate in our ability to send her comfort. We know that this awful, searing loss will take years to sooth. You don’t ever get over the death of your child, the pain just lessens.
Spikey and soft, the two faces of loss and recovery
Tears in the fabric
Talk of divorce has seeped into conversations with clients and colleagues. The decision to end a long term relationship, sometimes made pragmatically, always causes tears in the fabric of family and friend relationships. Unclipping oneself from all that was known is a sad and terrifying experience that leaves all affected swirling uncontrollably on a river of heartbreak.
The long journey to recovery for these endings includes gathering the sodden pieces of yourself scattered like ripped fabric over a desolate desert isle. The work of weaving the strips back, haphazardly at times, calls for patience and care. The stitches will be crooked and thick or alternatively so fine that they risk pulling apart at the next sneeze. The real difficulty is accepting the gaping hole the other person has left. Allowing time to slowly spin a soft web to cover it, but never close it, demands more perseverance. It all takes time. It feels like forever.
Consistency and perseverance equals mobile again!
Loss of independent movement
A far less devastating but still impactful loss has been our loss of independent movement. The past few weeks have challenged us with the loss of both vehicles to abnormal car maladies that threatened to be very costly and potentially fatal. We were blessed to be able to lean on family members for loan cars but as we reached the end of the week we faced the possibility of being completely car-less. Not the end of the world but an added inconvenience to work around in this giant team of two that is 5th Place.
A sudden reprieve gave us some hope. Matthews' car needed some small item replaced at a fraction of the cost of what others had suggested. Gleefully he sailed across town to collect his pride and joy. Chantal has been known to call it an expensive ornament as it spent most of its time in the garage while her car was the vehicle of choice. Now, however, it is being used. It has become the only fancy carrier of two in this household. We have recovered our ability to move around with relative ease. And we are grateful.
Godspeed 💖 Lesley Liles (1967 - 2023)
Give and receive
Loss and recovery are like the in and out breath of life. The coming and going of emotions. Yet where there is pain we resist. We close down, contract and hold tight. We have to breathe out in order to breathe in again. We have to let go, to let come. We have to give in order to receive.
At times of loss and difficulty we sometimes shut others out. It’s in the connectedness to others that we are given and can receive the support to survive the calamities. Connectedness is what keeps us going, even if it is on borrowed wheels.
Until next time,
Yours in feeling,
Chantal & Matthew
About the author
5th Place is a dynamic organization that's passionate about emotional fitness. We're the creators of Shape of Emotion, a revolutionary tool that's changing the way we understand and manage our emotions. But we're not just about theory - we're about practical, tangible change.
We offer Emotional Fitness Classes and courses that help individuals, from children to adults, build emotional resilience and well-being. For our younger audience, we've created the Vibarealm, a vibrant universe that encourages a healthier interaction with emotions.
Join us on this journey to emotional fitness and let's make the world a better place together.