As I consider the times in my life when unexpected and unwanted change forever altered life as we knew it, my husband and I were not only brought up short, but were required to step back and put some thought and perspective into our next step.
Most of the time when problems arise we simply consider different options and solutions, adjust and move on. While changes are made, our life is still basically the same.
It is when something of great importance and emotional attachment has been taken away, that life itself has been altered. It might mean a death, a major move, a divorce, a dream, etc.
Losses are personal
While some losses we simply take in our stride, being sad for a short time and then moving on, other losses require more active grieving.
Nobody but you can determine how important a loss is. A child who has just lost a beloved pet or toy is experiencing a loss at a deeper level than perhaps you or I. Their attachment to that pet and toy is different than ours. We need to help them grieve their loss.
What does it mean to grieve?
We know we experience intense emotions of sorrow and sadness. Our emotions can range from despair to moments of solace, from anger to guilt, from joy in our remembrances to a blanket of depression that settles over us like fog. I liken the complexity of emotions we might experience to that of being on a roller coaster. You can be up and down and somewhere in-between.
The greater the loss the deeper the grief
Working with individuals who have suffered major losses, I am humbled by the depth of grief they are working through. The typical words we use to define the grief process have a different meaning to one who is grieving.
We don’t get “over it” and as one person indicated to me, the term closure has no comfort attached either. We will always have that empty spot in our lives, that hole in our heart, that love we no longer can give, that possibility or potential that will never be realized even though we can create a new reality and new beginning.
We all grieve in different ways, with different time frames and different outcomes. We all use different methods to process that grief. And there are many paths offered to help us in that quest.
A wonderful lady shared with me yesterday a 200+ mile walk called El Camino de Santiago in Spain that people have walked as part of their healing process. Others have found walking and praying a maze helpful. Art therapy is extremely beneficial not only helping us heal, but in taking the broken shards of our live and turning them into a visual memory of recognition, reconciliation and celebration.
If your loss was important to you, take time to grieve.
©2013 Marlene Anderson