“Cutting Corners”



As we maneuver this journey of loss and grief, we find some stretches of the road are flat, some tend to be filled with hilly ups and downs, and others are full of sudden turns and surprise curves. If we are not careful, those turns can be dangerous, as we tend to “cut corners” along the way. What do I mean by “cutting corners”? Let us look first at a familiar corner before delving into the more unfamiliar ones.

Perhaps the first experience we remember with people actually “cutting corners” is in preschool with scissors and paper. Trimming and following the lines is a skill we learn with much practice. If you watch a four or five-year old concentrating on the task of cutting and see their failed attempts at cutting on the lines, you will grasp just how difficult it is to stay on task and be exact without much practice. This truth is especially noticeable when the young person comes to the corner of their drawing. More than likely, the result will be a rounded turn or a chewed up attempt, rather than a sharp, exact, ninety-degree cut and turn.

There are other ways of “cutting corners”. I have been known to use the following method myself. Cleaning house or as Alan used to tease, “Hide-away-House-Cleaning” is definitely a way of “cutting corners.” When rushed and lacking the time to do a thorough scouring and cleaning of the home, just toss stuff in the closet and close the doors. I smile as I recall the times we would both pitch in and hurry around the house, tucking things in places as our favorite music played in the background. Oh, we had skills in this area!

Another example of “cutting corners” took place a couple of years ago when my son had innocently stopped at a red light. Another driver inappropriately turned right on that red light, “cutting corners” by not waiting as they should have until traffic was cleared. Their rush to move forward into oncoming cars before it was safe, caused another car to veer, hit the median and fly air-borne into my son’s car, totaling it and sending him to physical therapy for a number of weeks.

Looking back on the list I have made so far, you can see that some forms of “cutting corners” are rather harmless while others can cause some damage. One final example we will look at of taking a short cut capable of harming us is when we skip some steps in our grieving and tend to “cut corners” instead of doing the necessary, although painful, work of grief.

As you journey through the hurt of saying good-bye to loved ones, it is wise to examine and admit the changes that their passing brings. Life will be different now and you will need to find new ways to accomplish old tasks. If you “cut corners,” denying your feelings of sadness and refusing to acknowledge the loss, your pain will not go away as you might think. Instead, it will only resurface and make itself known later in your life. While it hurts to think about your loved one being gone, you need to take the time to contemplate what their leaving actually means for you. Figure out the ways you will need to compensate and adjust how you live your life.

Refuse the temptation of “cutting corners” today, and you can find your grief journey shortened and a smoother transition accomplished as you once again enter the activities of doing life tomorrow.

Until next time –