Loss is a four letter word we don't like to hear

L-O-S-S: Another Four-Letter Word

You know them, those ugly four-letter-words. We can’t avoid them. An acquaintance blurts one out, right in the middle of a soccer mom-conversation. Shock! How do you react to that? “I’m sorry, Sue. Can you say that again?”

After a while, you hear those ugly four letter words so much that they begin to slip out of your own lips. Denial! What just happened? I’m not supposed to talk like that.

And what about those cute YouTube videos, where parents capture every first, including when their three-year old casually drops the F-bomb. Angry! Why would a parent expose a child to that?

Maybe it’s a spouse who hurls ugly four-letter words in the midst of a heated argument, calling you names that no one should have to absorb. Wounded!

Ugly four-letter words: They shock; they assault our senses; they disappoint; they wound; they anger – and then they pass.

There is another four-letter word that is equally unavoidable. Sometimes it bursts into our lives, right in the midst an otherwise beautiful day.  Shock!

It is a message makes us cringe and shrink away from its reality. Denial!

It is a circumstance that we should not have to face – ever. Anger!

It is a hurt that reaches into the depths of our heart and squeezes until we feel that we can absorb no more pain. Wounded!

That word, that experience, is an ugly four-letter word: L-O-S-S. It shocks; it assaults our senses; it leaves wounds; and it stirs anger  – and it does not pass.

Life-changing loss comes in an unlimited array of circumstances and magnitude. It comes to each of us, if not today then tomorrow. Perhaps you have experienced loss because of one or more of the following:

  • The unexpected words of a spouse: “I don’t love you anymore.”
  • The destruction of emotional health at the hands of one who is mentally, physically, or sexually abusive.
  • The slow deterioration of body as disease takes over.
  • An addiction that steals more and more of your life or the life of a loved one.
  • A career that disintegrates before your very eyes.
  • The absolute devastation that accompanies the tragic death of someone you love.
  • Regret over years that cannot be reclaimed or relationships that cannot be renewed.
  • The unfulfilled dream of parenthood.
  • Or perhaps you have experienced loss from a wound so deep that I haven’t even the imagination to consider it.

We feel nothing if we don’t feel the pain of our own loss. It accompanies us as a dark shadow, and we live with an emotional overflow that can become crippling: depression, heaviness, fear, anxiety, anger, resentment or bitterness. It takes no effort to focus on our own loss.

We are not so equipped to feel the pain of another’s loss. I admit that, for most of my life, I lacked true empathy. I naively assumed that grieving over the death of a loved one lasted only a handful of days, until my brother’s death interrupted my life. Only when I was inconvenienced by health issues could I fathom the discouragement of chronic illness. Until I was alone, I could not imagine the sadness of becoming a widow. This is not about me, though.

This is a challenge to look beyond our own L-O-S-S. It is a reminder to look for and listen to the heavy hearts of others instead of dwelling on our own wounds. Everywhere we go, grief exists, oh so silently. It is the mom at the grocery store whose son is addicted to heroin; it is the young father at church who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer; it is the acquaintance who sits alone on the reality of physical abuse; it is the cashier who is going through a divorce; and it is the friend who is struggling with depression.

We barely need to scratch the surface to uncover the pain of L-O-S-S.

I arrived late, but no one seemed to notice. I longed for one of my classmates to see something amiss in my eyes, to hear my silent plea for help. If one did recognize my pain, I could not tell.

Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness

Challenge: Look with fresh eyes among your circle of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances. Is there pain and loss that you have forgotten, overlooked, or underestimated? Is there deep pain barely masked by a layer of the daily responsibility to hold life together? Is there pain buried by shame or hidden from the judgment of others?

Help us learn from your experience. Leave a comment,  and share how you have learned to recognize the needs of others and respond with compassion and support.


Dragging the heavy load of guilt.

What Did Shakespeare Say about the Burden of Guilt?

The Heavy Yoke of Guilt

Is it a gender mishap that we women tend to carry the guilt of the world on our shoulders? If we were intended to do so, wouldn’t we have the broadest shoulders, the most powerful legs, and unending stamina? More like oxen, let’s say.

Have you seen oxen work the farm? Burdensome yokes on their shoulders, as they drag a heavy weight around and around, one tedious step at a time. 

The Oxen Versus the Woman

We do not have the sturdy frame of an ox, because we were never meant to drag the much-too-heavy yoke of guilt. Unfortunately, many of us have wasted a great deal of time and energy lugging our burden through life, one tedious step after another. And, being the wonderful women that we are, we have often picked up the guilt of others, as if it were nothing more than another piece of dirty laundry. The difference, of course, is that guilt is not so easily laid aside.

Did you know that even Shakespeare addressed the challenge of ridding ourselves of guilt? In MacBeth, Shakespeare wrote what has been referred to as “the psychic malignancy” of guilt: Out, damned spot! Out, I say!

Our Challenge Today

What guilt have you carried, or do you carry still? Perhaps it is your role in a broken relationship; that last phone call that was not placed in time; the failures of motherhood; or the regret of bad choices. (Feel free to add your own.)

Let’s ask ourselves this: what has guilt ever done for us? Has it added emotional fatigue, irritation, and unhappiness to an already overloaded life? Has it kept us awake at night, or had a detrimental effect on our minds and bodies? Or, as the writer below expresses, has it caused us to withdraw or avoid certain relationships:

What people don’t typically know about guilt is that it’s a double-whammy distress: You feel culpable for a wrong that is not known to people who should be apprised of it, yet when you contemplate an airing of your misdeeds, a feeling of shame kicks in and blocks you from doing so. 

Forbes Magazine

Our Choice Today

Have you wronged someone? Ask forgiveness, make restitution, and move on. To do otherwise is to subject yourself to a lifetime of penance.

The cycle of self-inventory became a consuming and destructive force, a revolving door of inspection, finger-pointing, and guilt. The conclusion was always the same: “If only I had…”

Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness

Undeserved guilt is a thief. It steals our peace of mind, our time, our energy, and our ability to be all that God has created us to be. Undeserved guilt keeps us bent in an unproductive posture, unable to look up, unable to see and embrace all the good that life has to offer.

AHA Moment: I never was intended to bear the heavy yoke of guilt, and I choose to unburden myself!

If guilt remains a burden in your life, join me. Let’s free ourselves to be the friends, the mothers, the daughters, and the sisters we were created to be.  Free of the heavy yoke of undeserved and unhealthy guilt.

Woman journeys to a new life after being Twice Broken

What I never said: I am a domestic violence survivor.

It’s true. I am a business writer, and I am also a domestic violence survivor.

I write about things like printed electronics, fiduciary risk, robotics and additive manufacturing. I also write about domestic violence, abandonment, divorce, grief and emotional healing.

My business articles are published in regional and trade publications; sometimes they appear on client websites or marketing collateral.

My personal story is published in a book called Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness. Sometimes my blog content is posted on www.TwiceBroken.org, or on my new TwiceBroken.org LinkedIn and FaceBook pages.

My business articles address topics that are sometimes unfamiliar to my audiences such as: the pros and cons of the cracker plant, how realtime data helps companies become more productive, and how 3D printing is advancing medical research.

My personal story addresses topics that are sometimes uncomfortable for my audiences such as: what happens behind closed doors, how severe domestic violence is, and why victims don’t just leave.

I am very interested in sharing insights about the evolving world of business, and in particular the manufacturing, financial and healthcare sectors. I love writing about topics that impact the regional economy, the workforce and the future of business.

I am very passionate about sharing the reality, the prevalence and the severity of domestic violence. My heart is heavy when I write about topics that tear families apart, leave emotional scars, and create a lifetime of hurdles.

Time hasn’t changed the truth, but it has created an opportunity for my past, my present and my passion to become aligned. Now I can finally say in one sentence to one audience what I previously could whisper only to a handful of people:

I am a business writer. I am also a domestic violence survivor.

shadow of fear and insecurity

Take a hike, Shadow of Fear. You are only a memory!

Stop it!  That’s what I’m saying to myself right now. Stop jumping in fear every time you see that shadow. It is only an imitation of the real thing. It doesn’t belong to a person; it belongs to a bad memory. To a bunch of bad memories, actually.

I was minding my own business, walking down the street on a beautiful sunny day, hand in hand with my husband, when out of nowhere the shadow of fear and insecurity appeared. Just like it always does, it blocked out all the sunshine, and it made me afraid and unreasonable.  I thought it was real. I always think it’s real, but it isn’t.

I should know that by now. I mean, that same shadow has been following me around for years, darkening my world with fear and insecurity time after time. It comes when I least expect it; my heart seizes up and my confidence flees. When the shadow comes I forget what is real, and I only see the memories.

I think things like, “You’re ugly; you should lose weight; your husband likes that woman because she is thinner than you; you look disgusting; he thinks she is sexy; why can’t you be sexy; why can’t you look better; no wonder he’s not interested in you anymore.”

I have to keep telling myself that the shadow is only a memory. It is temporary , and it carries no weight. I’ve begun talk back to the shadow, saying things like, “I am beautiful; I am enough; I am lovable; I am good; I deserve to be treated with respect; and there is nothing wrong with me.”

Take a hike, shadow. You and the fear you carry are not welcome anymore.



Free to be me! I’ve shaken the shame of domestic violence!

I’m not afraid to say it anymore. I am finally free to be me, to be out from under the burden of shame that I carried as a result of domestic violence. For more than 30 years, I worried about protecting anyone and everyone who might be uncomfortable if I spoke about the domestic violence that was a daily part of my first marriage. I worried that some wouldn’t believe me, and that others would accuse me. I worried that I would offend the family and friends of the abuser.

The only thing I never worried about was the cost of remaining silent. I never worried about the emotional wounds inside me that remained untended. I never worried about the buried fears that would eventually erupt. I never worried about me.

Now I’m taking care of me. I’ve finally shaken off the burden of shame, and my freedom is a gift. I want to use my voice to educate people who don’t fully understand the reality and severity of domestic violence. And, as much as I’m able, I am going to use my life as an example to show other victims of domestic violence that they do not need to remain silent.

I am not afraid anymore, and it feels good.