If you fell down and hit you head, were in a car accident, or became violently ill, would you seek medical attention? Would you go to the hospital or doctor as soon as possible? The answer is yes, of course you would. Then why don’t we seek help when we suffer an emotional loss?

So many of us associate the word grief or mourning with the loss of a loved one. The truth is grief comes to us in many different ways. We are feeling beings and as we move through the challenges of this life, our experiences are numerous. Many of us travel along a path that, for the most part, is smooth. Life seems to be going along easily, is sometimes boring, and then we hit that proverbial…..

Bump in the Road

That bump can come in several different forms:

• an illness that keeps us down for a few days or even a few weeks,
• an argument with a loved one that results in the loss of communication,
• a failure in a class we are taking to better ourselves that results in our falling behind in our goals,
• the loss of a contract or customer in the course of our employment

All of these things would be considered “bumps” in the road and how we handle them says much about us. These are stressful situations that take away our peace of mind. This is part of that everyday journey called life. But what happens when we hit….

Road Blocks

The larger, more stressful situations come in many different forms, including:

• the loss of a job that you really liked, had for a long time or were afraid to lose,
• a divorce after a long marriage, or even after a short, intense marriage,
• the death of a grandparent, parent, aunt or uncle, or a teacher you respected,
• the death of a spouse, brother or sister, close friend, and
• seemingly the most horrible loss, that of a child.

For purposes of discussion, the loss of a pet is included in this category. Whether we hit a bump in the road or a road block, all these experiences are a form of loss and, consequently, we experience grief. People have asked me the difference between mourning and grieving. One dictionary defines these as follows:

Mourning - The actions or expressions of one who has suffered bereavement or the process after a loss, a state of sorrow over the death or departure of a loved one.

Grieving - Deep mental anguish, as that arising from bereavement or the personal experience of a loss.

Either way, we grieve or mourn for what we wished for and what we never had, or we grieve or mourn for what we did have and no longer have. For purposes of this article, I wish to focus on the loss of a loved one.

Many people experience the same feelings after someone dies, although not at the same time. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve. It is our society that places order to these particular events and a time line in which to grieve. Some of the feelings we experience are listed below:

Shock – In the case of a sudden loss of a loved one, most of the time we are in shock. Shock usually runs hand in hand with disbelief. We tell the bearer of the bad news, “I can’t believe that,” or “that’s not true.”

Anger – When we receive the news that someone has committed suicide, we experience anger at them for taking their life. If a loved one has passed away in a car accident, then it is common to be angry at the person who caused the accident. If our loved one was murdered, then it is very common to be angry with the person who committed the act.

Guilt/Blame - I place these two emotions together, and just after Anger, because often they are felt at the same time. We blame the doctor who didn’t do everything, the person who committed the act that caused our loved one to die or ourselves for not intervening in the case of a suicide. These thoughts come together with feelings of guilt for possibly not seeing that our loved one was in pain, not being the driver of the car and saving the person who died, for not finding a cure or the right doctor, or for not keeping the person safe.

Relief – After a long or painful illness, often a feeling of relief for the loved one comes about because that person is no longer suffering. Relief also comes for someone who was in an abusive situation, and the abuser passes. Then the person may experience relief that the torment and torture have ended.

When is mourning completed?

When you can think about your loved one without extreme pain, and when your suffering has lessoned, then you have probably moved on. There will be bad days, but they will be less frequent. As the good days increase, and with help from a qualified counselor, you will be able to smile when thinking about your loved one with the knowledge that even though they are no longer with you, they are in a place of peace that is filled with love we can only imagine…a place that is so much greater than any we can imagine.

Remember, if you fell down and hit you head, were in a car accident, or became violently ill, you would seek medical attention. Loss is also a time when you need professional attention. My practice is not limited to counseling those who have a loved one who has died; I work to help people overcome losses of many kinds.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Henley is a Minister, Certified Spiritual Counselor, Author and Reiki Master. She has written the book, “Because of Sean, the True Story of a Mother’s Courage.” Sue provides telephone counseling as well as in-person counseling and can be reached at: www.auraimages.com, 623-334-6796 or 1-877-334-6790