Most people experience grief due to loss at sometime in their lives. We suffer when someone we love or something near and dear is taken away. While grieving, sadness and pain can feel like they will never let up, it is possible to come to a place of peace.
We encounter many types of loss throughout our lifetime:
- Death of a loved one
- Divorce or breakup of a relationship
- Miscarriage or infertility
- Loss of personal health or health of a loved one
- Death of a pet
- Life transitions (leaving school, changing/losing a job, retirement, selling the family home)
- Dashing of a dream or cherished goal
- Loss of a friendship
- Loss of financial stability (bankruptcy, loss of income)
The experience of grief varies greatly among individuals, both in terms of what may be experienced while grieving, as well as the length of the grieving period. Profound sadness is the most common response to loss, which you may feel at a deeper level than ever before. Right after a loss it can be hard to accept what has happened, particularly if the loss was unexpected, and you may find yourself having trouble even believing that the loss really occurred. Many times people experience anger as well–either at physicians, God or even, in the case of death, at the person who died and left them. Many fears can also be triggered, as losses frequently require that we face aspects of life and responsibilities that we have not previously encountered. We may fear that loss will happen again.
One’s journey back to health and well-being after a time of loss may involve seeking support from family and friends, from one’s religious community, if this is appropriate for you, or from an empathic listener in a counseling setting. Many health care facilities provide bereavement support groups where you can share your grief with others who have experienced similar losses, and gain useful insights on how to care for yourself in the healing process.
It is critical to recognize that the period of time after loss is one in which it is essential to care for yourself on physical and emotional levels, and to seek counseling when things seem overwhelming. There are many specific ways in which a therapist trained in working with grief and loss can support your healing. Companionship and accompaniment during a time of loss can be a powerful aid.