Loss of A Loved One: The Journey of Grief

Since no two relationships are ever the same, the grief that follows
from this particular loss is also never the same. How could we possibly express the magnitude of the true loss we feel inside? We each experience loss and pain in our own personal way. Each mourner mourns in his/her own way. What’s most important is that you validate your emotional truth. By simply choosing to allow the process to occur is in itself a healthy choice.

One might think of moving through loss analogous to the feeling of general helplessness since we know that we can’t bring the person back to life. In effect, we are helpless. The circumstances that took them from our lives can be one of many. Expected versus unexpected loss has an impact on the nature of the grief process. Those losses that were unexpected oftentimes evokes resentment, as the death is perceived to be more “unjust” and without any forewarning. Regardless of circumstances, however, losing someone of significance can trigger additional feelings of loss, i.e. such as those projected plans that were anticipated into the future with them.

We all know that healing runs its own course in its own time. The basic patterns and stages are definable though each actual experience still remains unique. It’s an individualized process that takes variable time, with a year or two considered to be typical for significant loss.

Foundations for grief-work as well as suggestions For Healing include the following:

It’s necessary to face the reality of the Loss even though the truth is painful. It was time and it happened. Now it’s up to you to move forward at your own comfortable pace. Unfortunately there is really no way to go around grief, you can only go through it. It’s helpful to find ways that encourage daily self –expression that are comfortable to you, whether its journaling, drawing, meditating, walking or what not.

There’s no need to be harsh on yourself. It’s a time to have self-compassion and not to judge yourself for any of your feelings. The best thing to do is to allow them to surface and to allow them to run their course. Recognize and feel your sadness. Allow yourself time for being kind to yourself. You may want to remind yourself that grief is normal. We all come to feel it at one time or another.

Dialogue with your feelings. Speak with your heart. Know that you are entitled to have all of your feelings. They are not a sign of weakness or shame. As you dedicate time to remembering your loved one, also dedicate time for yourself. Inquire about what these feelings beneath the initial wave of helplessness are. Yes, the typical wave of feelings may elicit deep sadness; though at times there may also be anger, and possibly guilt and/or overwhelm may also accompany the sadness perhaps along with feelings of emptiness (where the loss opens a void).

Complicated Grief may occur when such other feelings “complicate” the matter and prolong the 'usual' grief process. Oftentimes, you may notice that while coming to terms with the many layers that they may cycle in and out. You can expect this cycling and re-cycling as part of the adjustment/ and adaptation towards some sense of acceptance. If there were mixed feelings while the person was alive, it is typical to feel a sense of relief that may trigger tinges of guilt.

The most common example is when a caregiver feels a sigh of relief around no longer needing to devote their time to a sick or elderly loved one. Because they feel relieved, they may not fully understand their feelings and they may question themselves or their love for the deceased. Other times it may be challenging to process grief when accompanied by unresolved issues, what we refer to as “unfinished business”. As the survivor has this realization, he/she knows that there is work to be done.

The most obvious tool is to talk and tell your story. Talk through the range of feelings you may be experiencing so as to avoid a delayed grief-reaction, which could occur when the mourner is unaccepting / gets stuck in denial regarding the death. Denial and the anger response often go hand in hand, though depending upon why there is anger, it can occur at any stage.

Many find that reminiscing is comforting and also reassuring as the loved one may live on in memory. Keeping sentimental objects/ personal items can be comforting mementoes of the deceased. The memories and energy of the deceased are accessible and recalled by these. For some this can be very healing, especially during the early stages of loss.

Throughout your grief journey, you may have sudden waves of feelings arise. You can choose to journal these, or you may want to write a letter to the deceased. This gives you the opportunity to say what you wanted to though perhaps had not had the chance to. You can facilitate your own grief process along by engaging in these types of proactive tools.

Of course it’s always helpful to find the necessary support from family and friends and if necessary seek professional grief counseling.

When we trust in life, we know we can also trust in death. What I mean by this is that when we are each born, we already know that we only get a certain amount of time in our physical bodies, until the body must die. It is not our job to know who gets how many years to live or why. Oftentimes, the circumstances of our loved one’s death remains mysterious and unknowable. In this very way death becomes a part of life.

May you find Peace and Comfort and keep your Faith.

(Inspired to be written by a dear friend)

Author's Bio: 

Moreen brings her authentic, intuitive presence into her practice and communicates on a soul-to-soul level.

As a NJ licensed Social Worker (MSW), she has worked in both clinical and non- clinical settings with individuals of all age. She is a Life Purpose/ Career Coach (certified by The Life Purpose Institute) and Reiki practitioner who helps others access the very best of themselves.

She is trained in other modalities including Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Level II), and Parenting Education.

She is passionate about reading and writing metaphysical, and self-help literature.
Publications: “Self Trust, Self Care, Self Signature” Chapter 23 featured in The Confident Woman: Tapping Into Your Inner Power. Professional Woman Publishing, Edited by Linda Ellis Eastman 2013.

“Rebalance Your Reality” featured in The Female Leader. Professional Woman Publishing, February 2014. Edited by Linda Ellis Eastman.

Co-author for Your Heart’s Magical Journey. A meditative, inspirational book dedicated to children of all ages. It uses the earth’s treasures as guides to foster self-knowledge, self-esteem while promoting health and balance. (In process)

Available for Free Lance writing.
Contact her at 732-754-8681