Grief is not just about losing someone
Grief... the G word... so many of us associate grieving with the death of either a person or a pet, and of course this is true. What many of us do not know however is how there are so many more things we can grieve without even realising it.
One of the many things l learnt when l was qualifying to be a grief recovery specialist was that as a society we are socialised mostly to achieve – and actually totally ill equipped to deal with loss, as well as grief and grievers for that matter. We are advised to:
- replace the loss
- grieve alone
- not to feel bad
Such advice not only makes everything worse but almost seals and confirms that grieving is a solitary, secret affair and ramps up the feelings of isolation.
You lose someone and there is someone bound to tell you that, well, they had a good life. Someone told me that after my father died, it was well meaning l know, however l wanted my father to live on despite his age. l was never going to be ready to lose him, whether someone understood that or not – that was the way l felt and their justification of my loss confirmed they had no idea how l felt at all..
Or, when your pet dies, "you can get another" sure, but not her l thought. So you can feel really alienated by anecdotal well meant platitudes.
The wave of grief and grieving can equally hit you if you have been in lots of other situations and leave you totally bewildered as to why. Below are some other not so easily identifiable losses that you might grieve:
- moving country
- loss of health
- changing your job (whether voluntarily or involuntarily)
- children going to university
- children going to school
- losing your income
- relationship break up
- moving home and area
- growing older
- your children being so independent they don't need you anymore
- empty nest syndrome
- not having the life you wanted
- grieving what you never received
- loss of faith
Essentially any ending or loss of someone or something that you still have feelings about even years after the event. This is because whatever the loss, grief is about a broken heart.
Also there are no absolutes in grief. Each relationship is as unique as we are and therefore our experience within it is something that only we will know and understand... it does not bear translation, nor should it.
Despite the fact that many of us, if not all, experience loss many times in our lives, people know very little about recovery from it and grievers always do want to recover.
When we reach out for something that has always been there, or equally when we reach out for something that has been longed for and never been there, that is also grief.
When we are incomplete with it, this can dictate fearful choices.
Recovery is possible through completion. You do not lose the relationship, just the pain around the lack of resolve and all that encompasses that process.
Through completing my grief, I somehow got my relationship back. The pain went and for me personally it was very physical. It left me with something of the greatest quality that became part of me forever without the tear.
Take heart whoever is reading now... recovery is entirely possible.