How to Cope With Loss and Darkness: My Life Lessons on Growth

No matter what you’ve been through, coping with loss doesn’t always get easier. But I've learned that darkness holds life lessons we all need for the 1 thing we’re here to do: GROW.

When your loved one passes or an unbearable tragedy strikes your life, everything shatters; you no longer know which way is up or why you should care. The light grows so dim you can’t remember what it ever felt like.

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That darkness, it doesn’t last. This is so, so important for you to know right now and always: the darkness will never last forever. It will only last as long as it's needed to help you grow.

My own darkness taught me this:

Learning how to let go and allow the current of life to sweep us off our feet is the greatest lesson we can ever learn.

This lesson didn’t come easy, and I still have moments of learning it again.

These words poured out of my heart and mind as I was deep in the darkness and learning this hard lesson of letting go:


April 9, 2014

It’s almost 3 a.m. I’m sitting in bed, in a hotel room in Brazil, unable to sleep and wondering if it’s safe to walk these streets at night. But then again, are any streets safe at night, or even by day?

There is no telling what awaits you around the corner.

Life happens. For some of it, we feel prepared; but for most of it, we don’t. Is learning how to deal with it all what it means to grow?

I wasn’t prepared for the death of my best friend, and weeks later, my dog. So now I’m growing—A LOT. I have growing pains in my heart, blurring my thinking and keeping me up at night.

When I was 5 years old, my stepfather died. He was the love of my mom’s life. Everything was wonderful and real, but all of a sudden, on a sunny day in June his plane crashed into the ocean. And everything changed.

No one was prepared for that, least of all my mom. Or me.

But it happened. And I can see now, everything about our lives before it happened was leading up to that moment. And in the dark, dark years that followed, there was a lot of growing.

Maybe sometimes you grow so fast you burst at the seams. And even though growing is learning and learning is good, you break.

But maybe it’s where those seams burst that light can finally come in.

And now I’m thinking, my whole life I’ve been learning and growing and evolving... And it all brought me to this moment. So shouldn’t I be a little bit more prepared? Shouldn’t I be better equipped to deal with this? Maybe I am, but it’s still too dark for me to see.


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In a dark room, your senses aren’t stimulated. You can focus on one thought so much that it takes you deeper and deeper into the universal consciousness of meaning, and eventually, clarity. Growth happens in darkness, but you have to remain active and open: ask all the questions, and LISTEN to the answers that come through.

The answers always come through, one way or another.

The people that love you might have some of those answers, too. It's important to actively seek (and accept) help so you can be reminded that you are never alone in the dark.

My mom tells me that our souls know how much time we have when we come into this world. Some people get 100 years; some get 24. But when we are born, we know. It was written. It was always meant to be that way. So, that means nothing is missed. There are no “could haves.”

I think about her answer, and it helps my heart settle. There is no telling what’s around the next corner, but whatever it is, it serves a greater purpose that our souls are meant to grow through. And when our time is complete, so are the lessons, both given and received.

Years later, little by little, my fragile heart has let the light back in. Now I can look back on all the pain, all the darkness, all the growth, and I feel these truths in my bones:

  1. Everything makes sense.

  2. Nothing is random.

  3. Everything has purpose.

  4. You’re here to breathe, to feel, to move, to love, to fly. Don’t waste the gift that is this life. Spread your wings. Trust, take that deep breath, close your eyes, then let go.

And when the darkness comes, let your growth burst your tender heart at the seams so you can let the light back in.

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As you grow, so does your love. As your love grows, so does the healing of the world—past, present and future. Grow, love, heal. It’s what we’re all here to do, however our souls have chosen to do it.

Every single day, try to remind yourself to trust: trust that life will always, always take you where you need to be—even in the dark moments.

What has your darkness taught you? Share your wisdom with the beautiful souls reading this in the comments. It will help our entire collective heal, and grow.

X,

Rachel

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