International living is replete with losses. Not only do we feel the loss of friends, family, belongings, and situations back home, but also the loss of competency, familiarity, and functionality in our new location. On top of all that, those we find it easiest to relate to are very transient and we are always saying goodbye.
So what’s the problem? Ungrieved losses have a way of festering below the surface. The can make us flat, or sometimes come out in irritation, anger and frustration. At an even more basic level, we are often unaware that our losses merit any attention at all.
In this article, we'll share the 9 types of losses, so you can identify them in your own life and begin to heal.
But first we start with my own story....
My mom died. Three months later, my stepfather died. He died in a fire that destroyed my childhood home.
An angry gray sky greeted me. Standing at the top of the flight of stairs which opened to the roof, the breeze mussed my hair and reminded me I was near the ocean. It also whispered that rain was coming.
It was a risk to hang my heaping basket of wet laundry, but I had no choice. I grabbed the heavy towels. Clip. Clip. Shirts attached next, then socks. Clip. Clip. In the midst of the up-and-down, picking-and-clipping repetition, I had lots of time to think.
I was sad. I'd been sad for a while. I rarely smiled or laughed. All of my actions felt laborious.
Continue reading . . .Read More
A new family invited us to have dinner at their home recently. Because we didn’t know each other well, they asked us questions about our life in North Africa.
Their genuine questions invited us to share our story.
Afterwards, we mentioned to them that it had been a long time since we had told our story to someone. It felt good!
We all have stories to tell—fun and not-so-fun stories from our daily lives, encouraging testimonies of changed lives, tough stories of loss and grief that have built up over the course of years, and sometimes, traumatic stories and crisis experiences that we have been forced to walk through.
Whatever story we carry, there are multiple benefits of telling it to others.Read More
Flags, lawn chairs, and people lined the streets. We heard the drums in the distance, signaling the start of the parade.
"Is the king about to come?" my 8-year-old son asked.
I giggled inwardly, but looked at him with adoring eyes.
"In Morocco, yes. But this is different. We're in America getting ready to celebrate their Independence Day. America has a president, and he won't come to this parade."
Ah, the life of a child growing up in more than one culture!Read More
It’s like a switch deep inside me. I can turn it on, but it’s more common for me to turn it off.
Two whole years had passed by since we had last seen my dad. I had just arrived in Florida, along with my two young children, when my dad called to say that he was driving through the area. I was thrilled. He then went on to mention that he could only stop by long enough to have lunch. Only lunch? Only an hour or two of the day? I felt the loss and sadness begin to well up, so I threw my switch to the “off” position.Read More
"Say ‘shukran,’ honey," I whispered.
My two-year old, new lollipop in hand, looked at me out of the corner of her eye.
The Moroccan shop owner burst into a smile, scooped the little girl up and kissed her face.Read More
Disappointment is the feeling of sadness when your hopes or expectations aren’t fulfilled. It could lead to the more disheartening attitude of discouragement. What are ways to prevent this?Read More
Learn something new about loneliness that may surprise you by taking this “FUN 10-Question Quiz.” Don’t miss out on the explanations at the end!Read More
Making a mountain out of a mole hill!
This is an English idiom used when someone appears to be exaggerating a situation. It can happen externally where others see it, or it can happen internally where only I notice the mountain growing inside of me.
I didn’t realize I was. Yes, I knew I had a hard time sitting still. I knew it was hard to concentrate on one thing at a time. I knew that my thinking could be compulsive at times. But an addict?!Read More
Being able to notice symptoms in yourself and others is a very useful skill for those living cross-culturally. The type of life we live adds enormous amounts of stress and can eat away at our sense of identity.Read More