We all go through pain and sorrow in our lives. Often it’s as we get older, but that’s certainly not always the case.

How we get through it – and perhaps more importantly, how we rise up afterwards – is what often defines us.

My dear husband, Geoffrey Hancock, my business partner and father of our son, died in 2013 from recurrent pancreatic cancer. He was one of only about six percent of pancreatic cancer victims to even survive, let along recover and go back to work. But when the cancer came back after two years, despite chemo and radiation, he said he wouldn’t go through those horrible treatments again. He was on hospice for four weeks, when our friends and family said their goodbyes, and he left this world on his terms.

My 92-year-old father, Lowell Fagen, had a sudden stroke two weeks after a hospice doctor changed a blood thinner medication he’d been on for nearly 20 years without telling us, and he died within the week. Sure, he had some health issues, but he was living to take care of our mother, who’s had dementia for several years, and he was her caregiver until we moved them from Prescott into a memory care unit two minutes from my house in Chandler.

Whether you know death is coming, or whether it’s a sudden one, it’s still challenging and often unbearable to deal with.

Some people set up shrines to their loved ones. Some drink to dull the pain. Some develop various distractions, like traveling or reading, and still others shut themselves away from the world.

I distracted myself from my husband’s death by traveling, but when I came home, I’d be faced with the reminders of his passing.

But what was I going to do? Curl up into a ball and cry all day? That wasn’t me.

It wasn’t easy, but thankfully with help and love from my friends and family, I made it through the first couple of rough years when I finally figured out what my “new normal” was going to be.

They say time “heals” everything, but I believe time only “repairs” the holes in our hearts from the losses we suffer.

I hope you, too, will rise after falling.