By: Susan M. Graham, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Senior Edge Legal, Boise, Idaho 83702
It is the name of a new best selling novel, by Kate Atkinson.
When I read that title, I thought “my … someone put into a short phrase what life is about.”
Life after life …? To me that means what to do next in that frightening void… when I am adrift!
Death – of a spouse, parent, child, dear friend, boss, employee, pet … someone important in my life, no matter the title, is gone forever. How do I acknowledge the loss of this wonderful or difficult being in a respectful way? Then how do I remake my world in a positive way, without their presence?
Loss – of a job, divorce, miscarriage, house, car, money, friendship, love, health, pet, reputation, prestige, treasures stolen, time. How to deal with these events and stay whole?
That’s what I regarded as “life after life”–finding a way that works to let go of the pain and loss and discover new ways to have a “full” life, whatever that means for each person. If we don’t reach out to create new ways to deal with the changes in life, our individual worlds will get smaller, making it easy to shrink into isolation and loneliness. Not a fun place to be.
There is only so much time for living, so why not explore ways to live it up! Here are two examples. One of my clients, a widower, is a good dancer in his 80s. He is now employed by a cruise ship line company to dance with the ladies every evening. The limitations imposed include no more than two dances with the same lady in one evening. The company pays his travel, accommodations on the boat and wages. Another client retired and, after one week of boredom, bought a cab and started a new career. He loves talking with people.
Do you have a plan for a new life after the old life?