Grief is an experience that is universal. All of us will, at some time in our life, lose something or someone we love. Yet grief often takes us by surprise. The intensity, the duration, the emotions and the random “triggers” make grief one of the most difficult journeys we will ever go through. Living in a society that values personal strength, positive thinking and quick fixes can cause grieving persons to feel like failures. It’s easy to wonder “what’s wrong with me?”
While grief is usually the response to losing a loved one, there are many types of loss which evoke grief. Loss of memory, ability, and health; loss of relationships, as in divorce; loss of place, as in moving; loss of work, purpose, and income; loss of pets; loss from disaster. With significant losses can also come “secondary losses” like loss of security, familiarity, role, tradition and history, loss of future dreams, motivation and faith.
Grief is the reaction we have to a loss in our life. It is normal and it is necessary. We can run from it, avoid it, suppress it, medicate it…but grief is with us until we work through it. Grief is individual and can be expressed in many ways. Grief is all-consuming, affecting us emotionally, mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. Grief is painful. It also has a purpose. And it’s never too late to process it.
It is possible to discover in our grief what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross did: “I believe that those who have been immersed in the tragedy of death, and who have faced it squarely, never allowing their senses and feelings to become numbed and indifferent, have emerged from their experiences with growth and humanness greater than that achieved through almost any other means.”
Cathy Meyer, A Balanced Presence Grief Counseling, 330.317.4077