Processing your Loss
The separation from or the loss of a loved one is a difficult journey to process. Grief is not only associated with the death, it can also be due to divorce, job loss, or separation from a friend. Loosing someone significant in your life whether by natural causes or a disconnection of the relationship can lead to depression, sadness and cycles of shock and confusion. Grief affects our emotional, physical and mental health. Processing grief can be the most challenging thing a person has to face in their lifetime. It’s important to understand that everyone does not grieve in the same way. While some can display cycles of sadness others may display rage and frustration. The seven stages of the grief model modified by Kubler-Ross illustrates that the response to grief can be shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance.
Grief doesn’t have a specific character or personality it can take on many emotions all at once. I’ve been challenged to experience my own grief through the death of my grandparents, cousin and the separation of a long-term relationship. Each experience of grief was different in duration of grieving, emotional response and healing. Professionally, I’ve serviced clients that have experienced grief either by the death of a closed relative, partner and by disconnection from their family system. My experience with grief both personally and professionally has taught me to never look at grief as one dimensional.
Healing while grieving requires that the person be intentional about their healing. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid or even downplay your true emotions; find healthy outlets to process your grieving. Here are just a few tips that have helped me and many of my client’s process grief:
- Share your feelings (writing a poem, drawing, painting or song writing)
- Meditation and or Prayer
- Yoga / Exercise
- Set a specific day or time aside to grieve
- Create something to honor the loved one, such as a garden
- Reach out for help (seek counseling)
- Find gratitude
- Allow yourself to feel so you can begin to heal
- Give yourself TIME!
- Expect the range of all emotions
- Connect to social supports
Remember, grieving looks different for everyone, be open to trying new things that could potentially transform and heal your grieving journey.