The Truth About Grief & Loss
The Truth About Grief And Loss
By Jenn Bovee, LCSW, CRADC, CCHt, EMDR Trained
Every living being has experienced loss at various points in their lives.
For many of us, when we hear the words “grief and loss” we instantly assume it means death and dying. However, we experience so many more losses outside of actual death.
Some of those losses include: jobs, health, pets, faith, houses, children growing up, people moving away, vehicles no longer working, trust, relationships, hope, joy, etc. Hopefully you can now see that the list is much longer than you ever imagined.
There are so many well-meaning, but damaging myths that society attempts to convince people are true about grief. I describe them as well-meaning because I truly believe that most people attempt to just make someone else's pain stop.
Generally, people are uncomfortable with things that they are powerless over. And on average, many of us are completely powerless over the emotions and pain the people we love and care about experience during times of loss.
One of those huge myths is the entire fallacy of the stages of grief and loss.
Elizabeth Kubler Ross, who is attributed to coining the stages of grief and loss never actually studied the concepts of grief and loss. What she actually studied were the stages of death and dying.
Because experiencing grief and loss is such an anguishing experience, people are just doing the best that they can. The reality is there are no stages! It’s an individual path to healing that we must each forge on our own.
Here are some suggestions on how to begin the healing process of grief and loss. These are not rules or mandates, merely suggestions to help the transition of healing to go smoother.
Feel The Feelings: Do not deny or avoid feelings or emotions.
Feel all of the feelings and emotions that come up in your life. It’s healthier to experience the feelings and emotions as authentically as they occur for you because when we don’t feel the feelings and emotions, they either grow even stronger or they come out sideways.
Feeling them authentically allows you to have much more control.
Radical Acceptance: It’s so difficult to accept that you may not have all of the answers, or know all of the information.
It’s so crucial to accept that sometimes bad things happen in everyone’s lives without a logical reason.
For many people it’s helpful to accept your needs as they come. It is also helpful to accept that not everyone grieves the same way. One person may tend to shut down and isolate when they experience a loss, while others absolutely thrive through those times by spending time with the people they love.
Acceptance is the key to so many concerns in life. Accept yourself and your own grieving process.
Remember Nothing Lasts Forever: Whenever many of us are in the middle of something painful or stressful, we get this sense of panic that this painful experience may last forever. But it doesn’t.
In the addiction recovery world, we talk about suffering from “foreverism”, which is the fear that something bad will last forever. However, the flip side is rarely true. When we experience something positive and amazing, we rarely fear that it will last forever. The bottom line is, nothing lasts forever. Nor will grief.
Healing from grief is a process and it’s okay for your grief recovery to look different than other people’s recovery from grief. Give yourself permission to heal from it in whatever way is best for you.