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Bereavement and Dealing With Loss

“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself” – Robin Williams

The one thing in life that we are all guaranteed to experience is loss and bereavement. Many people associate loss with death; however loss can be defined as anything that is no longer in your life that causes you significant emotional discomfort and pain.  Therefore loss can be related to:

  • Loss of health
  • Loss of youth (the aging process)
  • Partner/friends/family
  • Loss of job or lifestyle
  • Loss of security
  • Loss of confidence or self esteem
  • Loss of pets
  • Loss independence
  • Loss of choices
  • Loss of a future you had planned
  • Loss of purpose in life
  • Finances

And I am sure you would be able to add to this list.

Dealing with loss

We are Taught to Acquire, but not How to Cope with Loss and Bereavement

It is interesting that at School we are taught to “get”; get a good education, get a good job, get a partner, get a nice house, car, children, clothes and so the list continues.  As a society we are taught many things, but one thing is absent from the school curriculum: how do we deal with loss when it arrives in our life?  What do you do with the overwhelming feelings of sadness, bereavement, and the ensuing emotional rollercoaster of emotions?

According to the Grief Recovery Institute, 8 million people become new grievers each year. The divorce rate exceeds 45% not including those who are not married.  That is a lot of loss and bereavement.

People seek out Counsellors, to help which is good, but what if you knew how to manage the emotions of loss as it arrived in your life?  What if you had the tools that you needed to feel better?

We have all known loss and will continue to know loss on the journey of life.  Each individual processes their losses in a different and unique way.   There is a tendency to feel so uncomfortable with loss that it is pushed under the carpet and covered up with an “I am fine” attitude.  However this is not useful or helpful as those emotions will arise at some point in the future when you least expect it to happen.

bereavement feeling sad

So What Can You do When you Experience Loss in Your Life?

Well how long is a piece of string?  Here are some tips to help you deal with loss and also to help others:

Don’t say the following:

Don’t cry

Crying is good and allows you to release

 

Don’t feel bad    

How?

 

He she is in a better place  

Is this true? How do you know?

 

There are plenty more partners

But you wanted the one you lost

 

You have to be strong for….   

How? When you are in deep pain

 

Keep yourself busy    

Is the same as brushing it under the carpet.

 

People do not know how to deal with loss as they have not been taught how to deal with it either.  Quite often they do not know what to say, when to say it, or if they should say it at all, and they are afraid of our tears, emotions and feelings.  In some cases it may trigger their own.  You may find people are reluctant to hear about your loss and will change the subject or worse still they are not hearing what a griever has to say.

A person in loss needs to be heard.  You may wish to say “I am sorry, what happened?”  Then listen without interrupting, without offering your own comparisons, without offering advice.  Be a heart with ears and hear what they are saying.

You may wish to offer your help in other ways by offering to babysit, cook dinner, and let them know you are there for them; help them with housework and invite them to events.  Don’t push them away or isolate them from your life.

Other people may say to you, “I know how you feel” but they don’t.  Your loss is unique and personal to you, and the only person that really knows how you are feeling is you.

A person in grief and sadness is likely to experience the following:

  • Reduced concentration
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Emotional rollercoaster
  • Eating habits may change to more or less
  • Disrupted sleep

Please seek out the help and support you need if you are dealing with loss. The Grief Recovery Programme is excellent.

If you have enjoyed this Blog and would like to know more, why not check out our Dealing with Loss Module to see how we can help and support you.

Have a wonderful day!

 

Isobel McArthur

Founder of Flourish Beyond 40

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