Grief & Loss are Part of being Alive..
Grief happens. As humans we experience loss if we live. It can not be avoided or hidden from, it is just a part of life. A part of life that most would prefer not to experience but experiencing it on some level is inevitable. Grief is a strange being. It expresses itself in many different ways and can ripple through lives, resurfacing at the most unexpected of times. A good friend of mine said recently that she could actually be a professional mourner ( if there were such a role) because she is inconsolable at any funeral she attends. She did not shed a tear at the funeral of her beloved Dad but now sheds waterfalls of tears at the services of others, many of whom she did not know on a personal level.
Grief & Loss Can Hit You Unexpectedly…
I too have experienced this phenomenon. I was to attend the funeral of the Mum of a good friend of mine, I had never met the lady in question. I was asked to support my other friends 20 year old daughter through the funeral, as they were away. I was literally exhausted by the end of the service due to the uncontrollable tears that fell. I was of no support at all to my fiends daughter and will never be asked again to fulfil this supportive role!
Grief can lie in wait and ambush us when we are least prepared. It can be cumulative and a trigger can force us to mourn all of the losses we have ever felt in one fell swoop. Taking our breath away by the force of the unbridled emotion that has to be felt because to have experienced loss is to know it. To have no control over these powerful emotions is disturbing to say the least but I believe that grief & loss has a way of making sure that at some point it is truly felt, it can not be ignored.
Loss & Grief can take many forms…
Loss & grief is not just the the loss of a loved one but can be:
- Loss of a pet
- Loss of identity
- Loss of a role in life
- Loss of love
- Moving house
- Loss of a job & financial insecurity…
There is No One Way to Grieve…
There is no one way to grieve. Some people and cultures emote straightaway, they grieve loudly. Others grieve quietly, internalising their loss. Some delay the process, for process it is, and then may find that it catches up with them at a later date, seemingly flooring them from out of nowhere. Grief is a greedy master, it demands attention, it can be put off but rarely escaped.
- Crying is a release but not for everyone.
- Talking is a coping mechanism but not for everyone.
- Therapy can help some but not all
- Time is the only real healer…trite but true!
But the truth is that grief needs to be faced. Pain cannot be ignored and the ignoring of it, avoiding it is what makes it harder to deal with as time goes on. Time is the only real healer of loss but there is no set time frame. The first anniversaries of all family events can certainly bring up loss but the second anniversaries are not necessarily any easier. Triggers occur out of nowhere, inextricably effecting us in ways that seems make no sense…a song, a movie,a fragrance, someone else’s loss…a myriad number of ways to remind us of pain. Loss is primeval and body held.
Grief i sSaid to Have 5 Stages..
There are purported to be 5 stages, some say 7. To my mind they are not linear, tick one off and move into the next…they are fluid and changing:
- Denial: This has not happened
- Anger: How dare they leave me, how dare they be taken…
- Bargaining:If I do…will they come back..?
- Depression: A deep sadness that fails to lift
- Acceptance: They are gone and will not return
Acceptance is not the same as forgetting. Acceptance to my mind is that you know they are gone but you carry them with you, if they are a loved one then they rest easily on your shoulder informing your decisions as life continues, for continue it does. But the loss comes forward into consciousness and then is easier to put back again. The black veil in front of the eyes that grief initially triggers is lifted, or parted and the world is seen again without every hue being tainted by your loss. Life becomes normal but will always be different.
Loss can be a wake up call to live life to the full because of its fleeting nature..it is a sign of humanity. Complicated grief can sit centre stage for too long, becoming a trauma , Trauma..Shockwaves Through the generations.. affecting life on every level:
“If your loved one’s death was sudden, violent, or otherwise extremely stressful or disturbing, complicated grief can manifest as psychological trauma or PTSD. If your loss has left you feeling helpless and struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away, you may have been traumatized. But with the right guidance, you can make healing changes and move on with your life.” (1)
Grief is not to be avoided..
Grief has ups & downs, even whist grieving, happy memories of moments can occur. If you are depressed there is no light. Moving, speaking, living feels too much, if this is the case then seek help as soon as possible because there is help available.
Grief can be helped by talking, living, sharing your experience and remembering your loved one. Often guilt gets in the way of grief and you can become stuck. Try and resolve the guilt or seek therapy to reconcile this factor that is preventing acceptance from occurring.
Live life to the full. Don’t avoid relationships due to fear of loss because to avoid love is also to lose what makes us human. If we did not love we would not grieve…
- Main Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
- Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash
- Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash
- Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
- Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash
- Helpguide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm