When there is loss there is grieving
Loss is a hurtful condition that occurs when we lose someone or something. Grief is the emotional response to loss. Loss can be personal, such as losing a job, income, or freedom. Loss may also have to do with significant life events such as death of a loved one, divorce, chronic illness, drug addiction, infertility, disasters, or tragedies like 9-11.
No matter the loss, there is a cycle we go through when grieving. The book, On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, stands as the primary resource on the subject of loss, grief, and dying. It involves five stages. Denial: “This can’t be happening to me!” Anger: “Why me? It’s not fair! Who’s to blame?” Bargaining: “I promise to ……..Please….” Depression: “I’m so sad, what’s the use?” Acceptance: “It’s going to be okay!”
The difficultly with the five stages of loss is that they don’t go 1-2-3-4-5 done. We can think we are finally at acceptance and the next thing we know we are really angry or depressed. Anger is difficult because we can be afraid to express our anger. The rule of anger is simple. We cannot hurt ourselves and we cannot hurt someone else. If we don’t deal with the anger, the depression can become more severe. Both deserve their own time.
Allow enough time to get through all the anniversary reminders. For example, in the first year after a death we have the birthday, the day of the death, the day of the funeral, wedding anniversaries, Christmas, etc. Those days can be very difficult. They are also opportunities to work again on the stages. They allow us go a little deeper, bring the feelings back to the surface, experience them, and move them a little further away. Grieving is about forgiving and healing. It is not about guilt and fear.
When there is loss there must be grieving. We can do it now or do it later. Life is full of loss and if we don’t learn the stages, and actually work through them, we not only punish ourselves but those we care about. It is so important to feel the loss, grieve it fully, and then look forward to new beginnings.
Until the next time: Live while you live!