Because when we have accepted the loss then we are ready for Renewal. This phase is best described in a poem written by my grandmother, Elizabeth Hecht, which goes like this:
This ole life just can’t be beat,
With every rose there’s a thorn
But aren’t those roses sweet!
We are ready to begin again in this phase. Ironically, this is often what people expect of us within moments of being laid off. We are asked to review a severance agreement and the packet of information from the human resources department. We are expected to either wrap up our tasks or transition our responsibilities efficiently and effectively. We are expected to be pleasant as we spend our last few hours or days in the company. Pleasant while, as Stan experienced, we become “invisible” to others. This is totally unrealistic. We are more likely to be in shock and denial during this period.
Moving from Denial to Renewal isn’t tied to external events in time. The movement is connected to our very personal experience of those events. How long does it take? How big is this loss? What is your current life experience as it relates to loss? What is your history of and track record in dealing with loss? How prepared were you for this loss? How were you treated as you were laid off?
The answers to these questions tell us more about how you will move through this emotional transition than the event itself.
When you finally get there, Renewal finds you full of energy and eager to begin again. Of course, as you move through more life and work changes, that Renewal is tempered with the realization that there will be other times of letting go. So you sort of “laugh through your tears” and move on to the next adventure.
If you have been through many organizational changes or several layoffs, this renewal is tougher to experience and/or distinguish,
because the changes blend into one another and you may feel that you never really get a fresh start. Sometimes you also intentionally hold back from experiencing the renewal, because you are tired of making changes and tired of losing what you invest in.