Loss and Grief

Loss and grief come in many shapes and size. It’s not always something that can be seen by others, but when someone has suffered a loss, it can be truly painful. It is usually the result of a death (of a family member, friend, or pet). But loss also occurs with the incarceration of someone you love, a divorce in your family, or after someone you care about moves away. Everyone experiences loss at some time, and most of us will experience it in several ways throughout our lifetime. It seems like life will never be the same; perhaps you will feel like you can’t go on, but you can and will, with time. Grief is the reaction we have in response to loss, and it can affect us in lots of ways:

  • Physical

    Changes in sleep or appetite, upset stomach, low energy, crying, trouble relaxing or concentrating

  • Mental

    Frequent thoughts of happy or sad memories, worry about what will happen next, or regrets

  • Emotional

    Strong feelings of sadness, anger, and denial that can come and go 

Some tips on working through the grief you may experience include:

  • Be you -- recognize and accept that it is okay to feel how you feel when you feel it; everyone grieves differently and on their own timeline. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. 

  • Feel what you feel -- most people who have suffered a great loss feel a range of emotions including sad, angry, shock or disbelief, guilt, despair, relief, love, hope. 

  • Seek support – remember that you are not alone, and many others have also experienced loss. Seek support from those who can help you, even just by listening (peers, counselor, teacher, parent, and mentor). Ask about grief support groups available through your church or community center.

  • Allow yourself to remember – consider keeping a journal of your thoughts, or a box of keepsakes to remind you of that person. You can even write letters to that person to let them know you are thinking about them, and keep those in your box, too. 

The grieving process takes time, and can be more intense one day than another. Know that it will feel a bit like a roller-coaster, but each and every day will bring you closer to acceptance. Your grief will never truly end, but over time, it will get better. And one day, you will find that you can think about and remember who or what you loved and lost, and smile.

To learn more, check out these websites:

 

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