Bereavement and grieving are generally associated with the death of a loved one. Though this is naturally the most intense kind of grief, people can experience similar reactions. You can experience grief following other kinds of change or loss.
Grief reactions can be triggered by any significant alteration to your circumstances. The change doesn’t have to be huge or associated with death. Even ‘lesser’ shifts can cause a sense of grief. For example a divorce, serious illness, miscarriage, the failure of a nurtured project, the death of a pet…
Coping with loss
Reactions to loss are wide-ranging. Above all, they are personal to you. Grief is about making the adjustment and healing following a significant event and we are all different in how we respond.
Though many of us play down the impact of hurtful life events, there is nothing shameful about feeling lost or saddened by redundancy, a failed relationship, or financial loss. Surprisingly, even wished-for events can have an unexpected downside, as with a house move, retirement, or completing a long project, for example.
As Anatole France said: “All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
Grief reactions include all kinds of difficult and unexpected feelings. As well as extreme sadness the full extent of other emotions can seem overwhelming: disbelief, shock, denial, and even anger and guilt are commonly associated with grieving.
Intense emotional pain can also cause physical symptoms. Many people have trouble sleeping for a time or may lose interest in eating. And it’s usual to experience general feelings of fatigue or lassitude. Though these are normal reactions, at a time when it is natural to crave sameness and stability, they can be distressing.
Back to normal
Any loss in life can be hard to deal with and bring a period of emotional turbulence. Though grieving can be hard to go through, it is de-mystified when you understand it as a natural and necessary healing process.
Over time, the symptoms will weaken and eventually disappear. Things have changed, but you will adjust to the ‘new normal’.
If you need help following bereavement or because you are grieving, contact me here:
How to Adjust to Change