The Exquisite Pain of Grief and Loss

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Grief and LossThe pain of losing someone or something you love can be debilitating. Some of you have lost precious relationships from death or divorce while others have lost health or independence. It’s amazing how long pain can linger, sometimes with no clear path to relief.

We have all experienced grief and loss, it is an inevitable part of life. Unfortunately, learning to “let go” with ease isn’t an automatic lesson.

The more attached we become, the harder it is to part ways.

I have always wanted to be the cool, easy going kind of wife that never restricts her husband.

Just this week, I observed my own inner panic at the thought of my hubby riding his motorcycle a long distance. I balked at my own intense fear of loss.

I realized I needed to work on releasing the fear but the concept and the practice are vastly different.

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For some, even the thought or threat of loss can trigger an emotional tail spin. There are some clear reasons why loss is more difficult for some than others.

Why Everybody Experiences Loss Differently

Those who experienced loss early in life developed an emotional map that has informed future losses. This is true, even if you don’t have a memory of the event.

If the loss was accompanied by panic, danger or confusion it may complicate the grief process.

Some examples may be:

  • Children who lost parents at a young age
  • Growing up in a violent or chaotic environment
  • Secrets associated with the loss

If these or similar circumstances were part of your early experience, other losses may feel equally terrifying.

Four Important Things to Do When You are Working through Feelings of Loss

  1. There is incredible relief that comes when someone says “me too”.
    Find a place to share your feelings. It is especially important to find others who can relate to YOUR experience. The death of a spouse and the death of a child are different experiences. While the pain of grief is universal, the path to coping and healing will be different.
  2. Don’t stop talking.
    It is common to stop talking about your pain soon after the loss. No one likes to feel like a “burden” or a “downer”. If you feel pressure to “be strong” and not “bother” people, do the opposite! The more you try to hold inside, the longer it will hurt.
  3. Consider forgiveness.
    Are you blaming yourself or someone else for the circumstances of your loss? Sometimes we get stuck in the pain of grief because we are holding onto a resentment. Holding onto blame and resentment is like believing the past can be changed. Forgive yourself. Forgive the other person. If you are struggling to forgive, start by exploring and talking about why. One of my favorite teaching tools about forgiveness is the Documentary “Forgiving Dr. Mengele”.
  4. Live in the present.
    The pain of loss often lingers because we rehearse the pain. My husband isn’t riding his motorcycle right now. He’s perfectly healthy and busy at work. Even if he was on his motorcycle, nothing bad has happened yet. Staying in the present is choosing NOT TO WORRY about something that isn’t happening. Yes, this takes alot of practice! Start by noticing if your mind wanders to negative thoughts. Over time, with practice, you will be able to redirect your thoughts to something positive.

If you would like more support with your grief process, don’t hesitate to reach out. Call me at  (561) 221-5575 or schedule your free consult here. I can see you in Boca Raton, Key Largo or Online!

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