Grief is powerful whether you’ve broken up with someone or lost them to death.
Missing much-desired goals such as being accepted into a specific college, job or achievement can result in the sensation of grief. Moving from one desirable home to unfamiliar territory can lead to grief. Other realities can also result in the same deep sorrow that leaves an aching sense of emptiness, a lack of vision about how you’ll be able to function without the person, place or thing no longer available to you. It all comes down to our emotional reactions to losing the constants that we expected, enjoyed, or needed. Normal people need time, and perhaps counseling, to get past grief stricken realities. Let’s learn how to do that.
We need time to evaluate what we’ve lost, the gains that it brought or might have brought to us. We need time to cry, to sigh, and to simply be still until our minds and hearts start recognizing that we want to tend to the rest of life. But that mourning period is not a one-size-fits-all fixed amount of time. The mourning aka grieving process happens in approximately five stages that proceed differently for everyone. Other stages of grief come in various forms that bother those of us who need to time to wrestle with the realization that our religious faith might seem inadequate or wrong, that we need to redefine our roles or someone else’s in life, and so on. The list is endless, as are the needs of different people in different mourning situations. Even if we mark religious rituals while we are aware of searing sorrows, we might resent them as too soon, too little, too late and too stupid to address the problems before and inside us. No matter the thought process, normal people need time to sort through their thoughts. It can even become hard to think or to feel. Dealing with that, and getting past the pit which seems to be our grief-stricken life, requires focused thoughts, do-overs and compassion. Permit yourself or someone else to experience all that. Denying it would be a cruelty, a recipe for lingering sadness without relief.
Wanting answers is a huge part of grief. Normal people review events, remarks and silent understandings as they struggle to understand why someone or something is gone. By seeking answers we seek soothing perspective that the loss is somehow for the best. Perspective can release us from the painful prison of bewilderment. But perspective only comes with time and the unfolding of the rest of life as we redirect our hopes and goals into other fulfilling agendas.
Relapse happens, usually when special anniversaries or holidays happen. Parents who’ve buried children or stillborn babies suffer when school begins or holidays involving offspring fill the calendar. Couples cringe when their anniversaries roll around and there’s no one to hug. Children grieve lost siblings, friends, teachers, and other important people. With the increase in fertility treatments for older adults, elementary schools witness students mourning parents. Parental deaths used to be rare, but medical interventions have made them more common for elementary school children.
Recovering from grief can happen in several ways. It might involve the fear that you’ve betrayed a cause or a person by recovering from loss. Compensate by imagining a new life with different goals, new attitudes and perhaps innovative behaviors. Some people start foundations to benefit the public as they assuage their sadness with can-do behavior and met goals. Other people indulge in pampering, new hobbies, and seeking out supportive people.
Yocheved Golani is a popular writer whose byline has appeared worldwide in print and online. A certified Health Information Management professional, she is a member of Get Help Israel. Certified in Spiritual Chaplaincy (End of Life issues) and in counseling skills, her life coaching for ill people puts healthy perspective into a clients’ success plan for achieving desired goals.