Image by Kathryn Cramer Brown

It seems natural to want to go back to the person you were after you’ve lived through a tragedy. After all, that’s a comfortable choice. It feels safe. But it’s unrealistic. Because we can never go back to who we were after our Universe collapses. The alignment of who we were in the world has shifted, and it will never be the same again.

Recently I realized that I have been unfair and unrealistic with myself for most of this year. In January things were rolling, my work was going well and I was excited about how my life was unfolding. Then in February the center of my Universe collapsed when Mom left this world. And for the next eight months I waged a futile battle with myself to get back to the person I was in January, which left me frustrated, alone and angry.

What I realize now is that I can never get that version of Martin back. Like a wheel missing a spoke, I’m now missing a connection that helped my world to turn properly. So I must create a new Martin with the same vision for my life, but with more patience and self-love and a new approach to how I go about putting myself and my work out into the world.

If you’re in a similar situation, give yourself permission to create a new you and be patient with yourself when your wheel seems a bit wobbly. Understand that every loss has the meaning you choose for it, so choose one that empowers you to move forward with your life. Love yourself for the courage it took to create a new you. And then go out and share what you’ve learned with others.