• Matt

Understanding Grief

Updated: Jan 9

When people talk of grief, often they are talking of a bereavement when a loved one has died. But grief can be a loss of any kind and we can react in profound ways.

Attachment is very much part of being human and breaking this can be emotionally very painful. The greater the value we place on who or what is lost, usually the more profound the grief is.

Below is a list of many of the things we can experience as loss and grieve over at one point or another in our life time, further to a bereavement.

These experiences can include a loss of:

  • Friendships.

  • Partners, e.g. Relationship breakdown / Divorce.

  • Children (growing up / leaving home)

  • Job / career, e.g. Redundancy / Retirement / Career change.

  • Sentimental items, such as heirlooms / wedding ring.

  • Our youth (ageing).

  • Illness, e.g. dementia.

  • Physical ability / illness, e.g. Loss of limb / Hearing / Eyesight.

It's important to place pets on this list somewhere too, although many would consider them a bereavement. Bereavement is, after-all, losing somebody important to us.

Whether it's loss or bereavement, grief is the process we go through in the period of adjustment afterwards. This process is the different feelings and emotions we have at this time, which can range from very mild to completely devastating. Our lives can be seriously impacted in a number of different ways too.

Grieving experiences can be shared and often we can identify and relate to the experience of another, yet largely it is a unique process we all deal with in our own way. This is important to remember and realise as 'ok'. There's no set agenda or fixed idea about grief. We are all very different and will process grief:

  • In our own time.

  • In our own way.

  • When we are ready.

There are many models that describe the phases of grief too, such as Kubler-Ross's five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Learning about these can help us understand what we are experiencing and go a long way to explaining our behaviour.

The late Dr. Lois Tonkin's model of grief can be particularly helpful too.

This is an idea that we never really forget the loss, but more so learn to grow around it. As time goes on, we adapt and create a new life around the grief, until our new life is much more significant and meaningful.

If your are experiencing a loss or bereavement, whether it was recent or even months / years ago, counselling at Life Perspective offers you valuable support you may need. We can provide a space to offload, where you can confidentially talk about what you are experiencing, without judgement. It is a very safe way to work through what has happened and what you are going through at your own pace. Please don't suffer in silence, contact us today for an appointment.

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