When you lose something you dearly love, be it a person or any other thing, you go through grief. Sometimes at the time of loss people may come to comfort you but after a couple of days or weeks, it feels like everybody has gone back to their lives and forgotten about your loss. Whilst in you the pain will still be as fresh as ever.
There are different kinds of ways that people undermine one’s losses and may fail to acknowledge one’s grief properly. Examples include but are not limited to;
Miscarriages (people may think the pain is easy because you had not held the baby or think that you are taking too long to heal)
loss of a pet (“It’s just a pet”, I have heard such expressions before)
loss of health (such as a diagnosis with a chronic illness – “It’s not death, you can still take your medication and live” but they do not know exactly how you are feeling and how it’s affecting you),
a failed relationship or marriage (People may even say” good riddance, he/she was not good for you” or “it was about time” or “ you had not been together for that long anyway” but failing to realize that you are grieving so much over it)
Loss of bodily function. Maybe a broken limp or loss of eyesight or muscular strength. (People often say, at least you are alive”. Even though it may be true but that is not comforting).
Death (One of the weirdest things that I have heard people say to somebody grieving over the death of somebody is, “That’s the journey we will all take”. Even though people say this sincerely in trying to comfort someone but this does not do much comforting to anybody.)
Undermining death by suicide. (People say a whole lot of things regarding death by suicide including some even blaming the deceased).
Loss of a job. (“It’s just a job, you will find another one”)
How to cope with a tragic loss
A loss in your life may leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, and without direction. Here are some steps that are important throughout the stages of healing.
- Find someone to talk to about the loss. Telling the story can give you a way to get it out instead of bottling it all in. If you have the support system of your friends and family, this is the time to use it. Talking about it helps you to begin dealing with the pain and shock than avoiding it altogether.
- Acceptance means realizing that something has happened. You need to acknowledge that. Even though the effects may be felt for a lifetime, with time, we learn to handle them better. You can understand that this calamity impacted your life greatly but does not define who you are as a person. When the storms of your life are moving in, you can be prepared with your umbrella of reason. Acceptance is not forgetting the loss, it is acknowledging it.
- Allow yourself to feel the pain. Sometimes after a tragic loss, we may feel that the best way to deal with it is to ignore it. However rarely does this go without consequences. We cannot deal with loss by ignoring it, it’s like postponing it for a moment but sooner or later something will trigger the pain again.
- Recognize that your life has changed. The hardest part of experiencing trauma is knowing that your life is no longer the same. The lens of your reality has been shattered. Dwelling on the things that you have lost will only cause you much grief. Focus on the things that you still possess today. Even though sometimes it may seem like we have lost everything but if we allow ourselves time, we will realize that we still possess other things. A major healing agent is being able to change your perception of your new life. This shift in perception can help you stay positive despite the loss.
In most cases, people just don’t know what to say to somebody grieving, because of the intensity of the moment. That’s why professional help is encouraged during these moments. If you are grieving and need to speak to a counsellor, get in touch with Psyche and Beyond.
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