I was contacted by this beautiful woman (below) and asked if I would help spread the word about her new book. Turns out, my blog is one of her favorites. How could I not say yes? And after all, she is a Brit. I love my Brits...and my fellow grievers.
How to live a brand new life after loss
I entered the world of second firsts in September of 1998, when I delivered my master’s thesis on the stages of bereavement at the University of Durham in England. But I wasn’t thrown into the emotional and practical abyss of needing to create a new beginning for myself until the summer of 2006 when my 35-year-old husband left the physical world. After a devastating and emotionally draining three-year struggle with colon cancer, he passed away, leaving me as a grieving single mother with two young daughters. Nothing I’d been taught or believe about the experience of profound loss was accurate.
I was lost, sad and very afraid of the future.
My mission in life is to help you, and others like you, build a bridge from your past to your future, starting exactly where you are today. You see, before your loss, you were one person. You know who you were. You made sense in the context of your life. But that identity was ripped away in the moment of your loss. That moment did not only bring pain and sorrow, it also brought confusion and fear. Your brain lost its ability to plan and reason.
This is something that no one can prepare for.
Now you are in an intermediate, transitional phase of your life, where you’re waiting to discover the new you-- the second you-- and find out what your new life will look like. There’s a lot of uncertainty at this time. Even though going back to the old life isn’t possible, part of you wants to do that anyway. Another part of you wants to go forward--you just don’t know how yet.
The secret I want to share with you is that your brain is so adaptive and so powerful that your own thoughts during this painful period can lead you to experience a remarkable, bright future. Even though you are confused and scared, there is a way out of this temporary cloud and onto a powerful bridge. You can help build this bridge to the future, and it can take you wherever you want to go.
Everyone around me told me that my loss would always hurt and I’d always be grieving. There was no explaining after those ideas were uttered, no elaboration on how much grieving we were talking about. I read many memoirs written by people who had gone through a tragedy, and these authors placed so much emphasis on their losses that the idea of truly living life after loss while in the midst of grieving was never really addressed.
By the time I discovered the portal to a new world, I’d learned that when you experience a devastating loss from a death or divorce, what you are left with afterward is a life beyond a regular life. It is beyond a day-to-day experience.
The day I accepted how different I had become because of my grief and realized I was no longer the person I used to be-- and that I could never go back-- a doorway opened. I stepped through it into a new life that had the potential to surpass my most ambitious dreams.
I was no longer someone who lived her life just like everyone else. I was no longer thinking in the same way as my friends, my family and my co-workers. I was no longer talking, acting and feeling the same. So I stopped trying to the fit the life I had left behind. And I found that my pain lessened. My new self was no longer trying to match my old surroundings.
Trying to remake the old life was what had hurt me the most.
At first it was hard to make the transition to being a new me, as I had to practice laughing again and had to face my fears head-on by taking risks again. Above all else, I had to learn how to trust again. That was the feeling that took me the longest to recover. But once I did, it took me the furthest.
I truly believe that one day everyone in the world will wholeheartedly embrace the fact that loss creates a kind of disequilibrium within us. That it changes everyone and everything in our lives-- and quite possible for the better, after equilibrium is reestablished. It may take some time before the world is open to considering this idea, but I hope this has unlocked a small belief in your mind, one that you can squeeze through and create a brand new beginning.
In my book Second Firsts I take the readers on a journey out of the old life and into a new one. Teaching everyone how to use their brain to create the life they so deserve. We have all the tools we need right within us. And no I am not talking just talking about our heart and soul, but about our brain maps, our thoughts and the words we use to create our world every single day.
About the author:
Christina Rasmussen is on a crusade to change the way we live after loss. As the founder of Second Firsts, an organization to help people create a pathway back to life after loss, Christina spends her time speaking, coaching, and helping thousands of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the most powerful tool for personal reinvention: the human mind. Her personal story and fresh approach to life after loss has garnered international attention. She writes for the Huffington Post, she's been featured as a Woman Working to Do Good in the White House Blog, and she was named the Leading Mom in Business by StartupNation. Her first book, Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again, has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also sign up to receive her weekly newsletter, the "Message in a Bottle," by visitingwww.secondfirsts.com. Websites: secondfirsts.com and www.thelifestarters.org