Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

The Thing About Loss

The Thing About Loss

Susan Schreer Davis, contributing writer and Voice of Hope for the mito community and all those seeking inspiration in their day-to-day lives. Follow along each week at, and on social media.

While perusing Facebook this morning, I read a post by a grieving mom. She lost her young daughter to mitochondrial disease only a few years ago. As a reminder, I lit a candle next to my lap top in honor of her today.

Not everyone in the mito community will lose someone we love to this disease. Still, we all face loss: Loss of function, community, understanding, integration, hobbies, jobs, travel, and energy for the one’s we love.

I recently spoke with someone who lost a friend to cancer, “Be kind to yourself,” I admonished. “You’re not going to feel normal for a while and that’s okay. Take time to grieve.”

It makes sense when I write it, but even I clamor to regain center when emotions overwhelm. Who wants to cry and feel sad in our hyped-up, caffeinated society?

Not me!

Time off? Who has time for that? The world never sleeps. Between social media, constant connectiveness, and 24-hour news coverage, information overload makes it hard for a lot of us to turn off before midnight.

But our souls weren’t made for constant fervor. They require nurturing, much like a garden, to thrive. They need quiet and laughter, tears and joy, sorrow and dancing—especially when facing loss.

About a year after my first husband died, I made plans to attend a friend’s out-of-town wedding. But when I woke to catch an early-bird flight, I couldn’t get it together. So, I stayed home alone and melted into the recliner I purchased for the father of my boys only a week before he died.

Raw, unfiltered emotion surprised and paralyzed me that day. But before dark, I forced myself to get up and visit a couple whose son had been murdered only days before. Sharing in their grief for a short time, helped pull me from mine.

Likewise, about eighteen months after my son and I received a mitochondrial disease diagnosis, I bottomed out. Between muscle biopsies, spinal taps, two major surgeries, and damage to my right leg, overwhelm clogged forward momentum. I spent hours that summer, sitting on my living floor, watching NCIS reruns.

Toward the end of July, a friend invited me to a mito mom’s gathering. Surrounded by people familiar with the lingo, going through the same, a spark ignited my soul. No longer alone in the battle, I fought back, faced the loss, and joined the living again.

While I pulled out of the depression on both occasions, I truly believe that by taking time out to grieve, shut down, and feel the weight of the loss, I was then able to navigate back to life.

I much prefer dancing to mourning and laughter to tears. But without one, the other remains incomplete. So, pause. Grieve. Feel the sadness. Face the pain.

And then choose to live again.

About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects ofmitochondrial disease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at:

Green Chameleon

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