Posted by: coachingparents | January 30, 2008

Coaching Families Through New Year’s Loneliness

In the New Year, many celebrate new beginnings or a new resolve for self-improvement. For others, it is a time of loneliness, sadness, and grief.  The overwhelming feeling of loneliness is not just about adults, children experience it also.

A friend of mine who has adopted four children told me how difficult this time of the year is for her four adopted children.  Their minds wander to their biological parents, and why they gave them up for adoption.

For grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, they and their grandchildren grieve the loss of their adult child who is the parent of the grandchild. It seems irrelevant whether their loss is due to physical illness, to drugs and alcohol, to crime … their loss is a death of this loved one as they knew them or as they wished they could have been. It is to say the least, an overwhelming and deep loss for both generations.

As a member of American society, we are not given much time to grieve and feel the depth of our sadness.  In fact, we often replace sadness with anger, because for some reason, that is a more acceptable emotion. 

But the fact is this past year, 2005, left many of us in a state of loss, and shock over our losses.  Whether it was the tsunami in Asia, the hurricanes in the Southern United States, the earthquakes in Pakistan, the mudslides in Nicaragua, the flooding in the Northeastern United States, we have suffered many losses, traumas, and heartaches.

These disasters offer us an opportunity to come together as ‘one’ people;  people of the world whose hearts ache for loved ones we have lost.  Let us support each other in our time of loss; let us allow ourselves to experience our sadness and our deep grief.  Let us take the time to shed tears, and to cry on each other’s shoulders.

Let us resolve to allow ourselves to experience our emotions. If we do, our sense of loneliness will not be as raw or overwhelming.  We often feel lonely because we feel disconnected from other people, family, friends, and co-workers.  We withdraw or wear a mask to hide our deeper feelings and in so doing, we alienate ourselves from loved ones. 

We, also, often without intention, teach our children to cope the same way with their emotions.  That is, we teach them to withdraw, to be less than forthright with their feelings. Slowly but surely our children begin to wear masks, and feel disconnected, and as a result, lonely. 

When we allow ourselves to feel and experience the depth of our emotions, we give ourselves permission to ‘let go’ into love.  It appears black, it appears violent…yet, I know there is a bigger picture that I, with my small eyes, cannot see.  Then comes trust.  Trust in others, but mostly trust in self and trust in that which is bigger than all of us.   Life is a dance…the orchestra of the spirit, needs all instruments, children and adults and elderly, including those who play ‘different’ tunes.  Play your life instrument as well as you can and the orchestra will provide life with its melody. 

Finally, after you have played in the orchestra, than be willing to surrender.  Be willing to surrender to forgiveness and gratitude—complete gratitude for the gift of life.  I may get angry, I may feel lonely underneath that anger, but as soon as I remember that I am part of the whole and whole itself, I forgive, and I am no longer lonely.  Give this gift to your child, to your grandchild and know that you are giving the ‘gift of gifts.’

About The Author …
Elaine is the mother to three grown daughters, and grandmother to three granddaughters. She considers her parenting role the most important of the many roles she has experienced in life and grandparenting the most fun and creative role.

For the last 5 years Elaine has been a trainer for the Corporation for National Services, Washington, D.C., incorporating a background in holistic health with her study of leadership. As a national trainer, she conducts workshops on leadership, building partnerships, creating sustainable projects and most importantly, on helping people find their passion in life. Contact her at


  1. really good one and thanks for it.

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