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Acknowledging Change and Loss So You Can Move Forward

How do you react to experiences that make you realize you are no longer the person you thought you were?

Recently I had to find a new vehicle. I’d only ever driven practical vehicles (like minivans), until my late husband lovingly bought me a used Cadillac SRX. I’d never wanted a Cadillac, but he was about to undergo heart surgery and said in case he didn’t make it, he wanted me to finally have a cool car.

I was intimidated by that car. I actually let it sit on our driveway for months until I finally found the nerve to drive it. However, once I got comfortable sitting in the tan leather seats and giving fuel to that powerful Northstar V8 engine (IYKYK) I grew to love that SUV! 

This past year the Cadillac developed a number of issues that made me realize it was time for something new. I started looking at vehicles with a list of features in mind, including criteria like “must be large enough to accommodate renovation materials or haul furniture” and “must have high enough towing capacity for the water trailer we have at our cabin”. This criteria supported the lifestyle my husband and I had lived for years as we renovated our house, and spent time at the cabin during the off season, hauling our water.

The problem I encountered is that these criteria put me into large (and more expensive)  vehicles. When salespeople asked me about my daily driving needs, we discovered that 95% of the time I only needed a vehicle that was small or mid-sized. 

My husband died in late 2021 and my life has changed. I don’t travel to the cabin during the off season now, and even if I did, I have plenty of friends there who would help me haul water with their trucks. My neighbour here at home has told me he will use his truck if I ever need to pick up any renovation materials or furniture. 

I just don’t need a big vehicle anymore.

This realization, while helpful, was hard to accept at first. How I viewed myself - as a hands-on person who built things and did rugged stuff - wasn’t reality anymore. That was me when I was part of an amazing, 2-person team with my husband. When I lost him, I also lost that part of my life.

We all experience change and loss throughout our lives. Whether it's losing a loved one like I did, watching a child leave home, or changing how and where you work - these experiences impact our thoughts about ourselves, and the ways in which we live our lives. 

We can’t change from one thing to another without leaving something behind. All change - big and small - involves some loss, and all loss shapes us. Ideally, we learn and grow from our experiences with loss, accepting our new lives and our evolution into the person we’ve become. Ideally, we recognize that it’s okay to change, even if the change is something we didn’t ask for or want. 

The key is acknowledging where you are now, and deciding how you want to move forward. 

Once I acknowledged how my life, and what I needed from a vehicle, had changed, I got unstuck. First, I came to terms with saying goodbye to the Cadillac my husband was so proud to buy for me. Then I grieved the loss of the identity I’d had for myself that was tied to the lifestyle I no longer had. Finally, I engaged a friend to help me look at the life I was building - the future I wanted - and what vehicle would help me get there.

Today I have my first 100% new vehicle - a beautiful 2024 Hyundai Tuscon. She’s black, loaded with all sorts of great features (hello heated steering wheel and voice that warns me about traffic speed cameras!), and I don’t worry about her reliability. I named her Trixie, as “Trixie the Tuscon” has a great ring ring to it, and the name Trixie means “bringer of joy”. 

What change and loss do you need to acknowledge in your life so you can move forward?

*Authentic content written by Kimberly Lyall, Lighting up Leaders

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1 Comment

Kimberly, thank you for this story! I, too, will have to give up my Cadillac one day, and give up our cabin, and move from our acreage, all of which I love. How I will get through those hard times is still in the making. So... I will save your story and when it's my turn, I will read it again and know that I can do it, too. I am so sorry you have gone through such sadness, but you are strong, wise, and beautiful... an awesome role model for all the young women in your life and those (young and not so young!) that are privileged to hear you speak. Very best 💕(Carole)

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