Left Behind


People leave. In the past few weeks, I’ve said farewell to a wonderful family in our neighborhood who has moved across the country for a work opportunity. I’ve packed up and kissed goodbye my Collegian as she sets up in an apartment in the Hub. I came to work one day to learn a close colleague had left our company. And, I’ve been visiting as much as I can my beloved sister-in-law as she endures the final stage of her terminal illness.

Coaching is about “purposeful action.” However, I am feeling like things are happening to me, or in spite of me—not because I have chosen these departures. It is hard to be left behind!

The purpose of this blog is to examine that truth: it is hard to be left behind. There is sadness, there is hurt. There of course can be happiness, especially when someone is launching out in the fulfillment of their dreams, but the one “left behind” feels the departure differently. And when there is abrupt change, or imminent death, there is grief.

The coaching opportunity for the one left behind is to take care. I need to seek out and fortify my environment with caring others. I need to identify and respect my feelings in the wake of all these departures. I need to allow time to assist me–instead of me “squeezing” everything I can out of time!

A coach approach afforded me the realization that because it is this hard for me, it is likely hard for others who are left behind, too. Therefore, I need to be more gentle, and more attentive, to others too.  That is the purposeful action which is required when one is left behind:  care.

3 thoughts on “Left Behind

  1. The truth — and I feel that I resisted this truth for a long time — is that MOST of the time “things are happening to me, or in spite of me — not because I have chosen”. My life isn’t MY life!

    Somebody (I forget who) once said, “Remember, my sentimental friend, that a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” I had a lot of living to do before I realized that the heart I’m being judged for isn’t my own — it’s the heart of the one for whom I’m called upon to love.

    The ‘left behind’ person I need to keep my eye on is the one I’m left to care about.


  2. I really enjoyed reading this article. It actually made me think about the story of Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings. When Elijah is preparing himself to be taken up into heaven, he attempts to leave Elisha back on 3 different occasions and every time Elisha refuses.

    I’ve read where some scholars believe that Elisha didn’t want to be left behind, and that he wanted to follow his mentor to the very end. Elisha was able to stay with his mentor until the very end and was able to have one final conversation before Elijah was taken up.

    The sad truth is that we all don’t get that opportunity. Sometimes we’re left behind in a moments notice and that can be far more devastating than just being left behind. Imagine being left behind with words unsaid, hugs unhugged, and love unloved?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s