We are all in a never-ending cycle of transition called Life. These transitions take on many faces and have both drastic and sometimes unnoticed subconscious effects on our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual lives. Grief, the experience of loss, is the most intense of these experiences. Unfortunately, in our society, we isolate the word “grief” to a sole association with death. The truth is that grief is defined as the emotional response to a loss of ANY kind.
In order to smoothly flow through life, it is vital that we begin to identify grief as an experience that is not limited to the physical and biological death. As human beings we are constantly experiencing growth which in turn means that we are constantly experiencing loss. When experiencing a loss that is not connected to the death of a loved one, we as individuals need to give ourselves permission to grieve. Many times, we are unaware that we are even grieving due to our society’s limited view of death and grief, in combination with our very own ignorance.
In this blog we will explore 3 of the most common grief experiences that are not death related.
Whether romantic or platonic, the truth is that sometimes relationships just don’t work out. Severing meaningful ties to a partner, friend or family member can be a very painful experience. The emotional ups and downs along with the mental back and forth surrounding the details of a separation can be exhausting and draining. Learning to move forward without that relationship in our lives is a challenge. No longer communicating or being to communicate the same with someone with whom we were once close can be as painful as experiencing the grief associated with loosing them to death if not worst.
Most of us spend the majority of our lives perusing and navigating through the career circuit. The average person begins working some kind of job between the ages of 16-18 and does not retire until at least the age of 62. Throughout this time in the work force we spend more time in our places of business than we do with our parents, spouses, children, friends and other loved ones. Our jobs provide us with benefits (if we are lucky) and also provide us with financial means to live the lives that we have designed for ourselves. Loosing or even voluntarily transitioning away from such a large factor of our lives is bound stir up some level of grief.
Social Media Grief
We live in a society that praises riches and looks poorly upon poverty and lack of any kind. Social media has ignited this mind set by allowing us the opportunity to constantly compare ourselves to others. Looking at what is presented as the “glamorous” lives of others in some cases can create a sense dissatisfaction with our own lives. Without proper balance, discipline and perspective we can easily be convinced that we in some way are missing out on the best that life has to offer creating feelings of loss that closely relate to experiencing grief.
Grief is not meant to permanently paralyze us. As crazy as it sounds, grief gives us the tools needed to fully experience and appreciate life. Recognizing that we are grieving is the first step we must take to heal, rebuild/reinvest, and move forward. When we educate ourselves on what grief really is, we free ourselves to learn from and grow through the experience instead of making the temporary experience last a lifetime.
Loss can be experienced whenever we develop an emotional attachment to anything and the experience of loss affects each of us in unique ways. As individuals, the manner in which we choose to grieve cannot be defined or limited to a step-by-step process. According to Recover-From-Grief.com, a wonderful resource for support and information about grief, the stages of grief are as follows:
1. Shock and Denial
2. Pain and Guilt
3. Anger & Bargaining
4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
5. The Upward Turn
6. Reconstruction and Working Through
7. Acceptance and Hope
It is believed by most mental health professionals that all of these stages must be experienced in order for one to recover and rebuild after a loss. Please take the time to educate yourself and your family about what grief truly is and know that expressing the feelings associated with your loss is natural and necessary.
Have you experienced a loss that is not grief related? If so how did you heal, recover and move forward with life? I would love to hear from you. To learn more about starting this conversation with your family and receive FREE information, resources and educational materialsplease visit www.thegravewoman.com feel free to comment or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joél Simone Anthony, also known as ‘The Grave Woman,’ is a licensed funeral director and embalmer. She is dedicated to eliminating misconceptions about post-life preparation while stimulating an open, honest and straight forward discussion about death. You can submit your comments, questions and requests to email@example.com or by using our contact page.