GraveIt is the hollow emptiness that washes over us.  We are separated from the known the familiar with no chance to retract our steps.  We stand at the border of the undiscovered country, which heralds the ending of a relationship and comforting regular rituals to be replaced with the unknown.

 

Grief and loss is a natural emotional reaction to the end of a relationship or an era of your life.  Often we associate grief with death, but it is likely that you will feel grief with any significant loss in your life.  Some examples would be the breakup of a relationship, a friend moving away, loss of a job or loss of one’s health.

 

It is difficult to describe what normal grief is. We all have our own individual process of grief.  There are a range of emotions to come to terms with loss, anger, guilt.  Often we feel as though we will never be free of the feelings or the pain of loss.  There is no timetable for grieving, some people will process their grief quickly and others might take years.  It is important to listen to yourself and understand your feelings about your loss.  Give yourself the time you need.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross introduced a 5 stage model of grief. While she was talking of terminal illness, the model is useful for all losses.

  • Denial – It can’t have happened to me
  • Anger – This is ridiculous – who is to blame for this
  • Bargaining – If they come back to me it’ll be different
  • Depression – I’m helpless, it can’t get worse
  • Acceptance – I know it’s happened I did what I could and it’s behind me now.

It important to realise that you can go through these phases in any order, not necessarily the order shown here.  Many of the stages are frightening; it is not uncommon to be angry with the person who has died.  It is also important to realise that these stages can overlap.  Clients often report good days and bad days with a gradual lessening of the size of the ups and downs as time goes on.

Since we all have our own process for grief we all need a different way to deal with it.  What is common is the support of others; this seems to make the biggest difference.  Some possible areas of support might be:

  • Talk to your friends and family, often we avoid friends and family because we do not know what they will say or we are worried about breaking down.  Now is the time that you need them most and they can help.
  • Draw comfort from your faith, many religions have support mechanisms
  • Talk to a counsellor, often giving yourself the space to talk through your feelings.  An experienced counsellor will help you through the process. It is particularly important to get help if you feel guilty about what happened or that it is not worth going on.

Where ever your support comes from do not grieve alone, connecting to others will help you through it.