Grief and Loss
What is Grief?
Grief is a word we use to describe the many feelings we can have when we have lost someone or something that meant a lot to us. Everyone grieves in different ways there is no right way to grieve, no right feelings to feel. Some people may not grieve straightaway, for some people it may be a while before they are ready to face their loss.
You Can Feel Loss Over Many Different things
- There are many types of loss where you might experience sadness, confusion and anger
- The death of someone you love
- The death of a pet
- Your parents or other important people splitting up or getting divorced
- Separators from a parent, both parents or your family
- Moving away from home or leaving your country
- Splitting up with your partner
- Being forced to give up something you want to keep (like your job, your child, or your home)
- Losing your job
- Losing the ability to do some things through disability
- Becoming really sick or seeing someone else become really sick
Even when something happens that appears positive, such as leaving school and starting work, we can experience some feelings of grief for what we’ve left behind.
When we have a loss in our life, we go through reactions of grief. These reactions and feelings are different for everyone. You always feel loss in your own unique way.
What Might you Feel?
Grief can bring a range of feelings that might include:
Denial, Shock and misbelief; “It’s not true” “It really hasn’t happened” sometimes it can be hard to believe something so rotten has happened. It can be easier to believe it really didn’t happen and that soon it will be back to the way it was.
Questions Why? Where? How?
You can often want to make sense of it all, why did this happen? How did it happen? Understanding sometimes makes it easier to move on. It can also start you thinking about what if? What if I had been there? What if I had told him not to go? Feeling guilty about things you could not control not things you might have done differently is normal.
You might feel anger at; the situation, the person or people, you feel caused the situation. Anger comes from other feelings such as being scared, feeling abandoned and hurt. You might even feel anger about yourself and what you did or didn’t do. “I could have stopped it”, “You never really cared”, “You should have done something”.
Crying, Sobbing and depression
You might feel very sad, it might feel like your whole world is turned upside down and nothing is going right. You might cry a lot, lose interest in day to day things, things might seem unimportant. You might feel loneliness, or feel you have no one to turn to.
You start to understand that you have lost someone or something but life has to go on. You start to come to terms with the loss, it doesn’t mean you forget but you learn to deal with it and find ways to remember. You start looking forward to the future.
Grief can have physical symptoms as well
You might feel tired, drained, experience headaches, feel sick. You may not sleep well, and not feel like eating.
You might not feel all of these and not in the same order, you might feel some of them for longer or more than once. Sometimes you might be fine for sometime and then a special day, song or place might bring the feelings back for a while.
Sometimes you might feel; Will it ever be normal again?
You will – gradually the pain is with you less often and life finds a new sense of meaning. If you find you are stuck in one of these feelings and not gradually moving on over time, it would be a good idea to talk to a counselor about it.
What Can You Do To Help You Deal With Grief?
Accept what you are feeling
Accept that you have feelings and its okay to grieve. That to move on you are going to have to deal with feelings, emotions and be sad for a while. The feelings will pass if you let yourself have them.
Take one step at a time
Some feelings will pass in a short time others will take longer. Give yourself time and don’t give yourself a hard time if you take longer at some stages than others.
Talk with someone you trust
Talking about the situation or person with someone you trust will help you make sense of it all. You might find that someone who is feeling the same as you is helpful or you might find that talking to someone who didn’t know the person or isn’t involved in the situation is better like a counsellor.
Ceremonies like funerals, memorials or special events can be important to help you express your feelings and give you some sort of closure and help you move on.
Celebrate your memories
Celebrating the good memories, doing something positive to remember the good things that came into your life because of the person or situation. Planting a tree, writing a poem, creating a memory book or journal can be helpful.
Be open to doing things differently, things may not be the same, be open to trying things a new way, making new friends, etc. It doesn’t mean you are trying to forget things, but are moving forward.