I felt that it was important to address this topic, as by the time you reach midlife, you’ve probably lost your share of friends and family. Some of these losses can be around death, divorce or relocation. Many people experience many losses, and different life events can produce feelings of grief and loss – divorce, break ups, loss of home, empty nest, loss of a pet, loss of self, retirement, loss of career, financial loss, loss of youth, loss of health, these are just a few to mention.
One thing that loss brings to us is change, and for a lot of people there is nothing harder to deal with than change. Especially if it’s unexpected and we are not prepared for it. Remember that each one of these losses and life changes deserves its own time and attention. Please note that no grief experiences are the same. Your loss is personal to you, so never be ashamed about how you feel or how long it takes you to grieve. Grief is a natural response to loss and It is emotional suffering that you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Even subtle losses in life can trigger a feeling of grief.
Here is one person’s story of loss.
My client came to me as she had just walked away from her marriage after 35 years. She’d found out that her husband was having an affair with his co-worker and she was done with his lies and deceit. However, as she moved through the leaving process, she had become filled with insecurities and intense emotions of anger, rage, and fear. Feelings that she hadn’t felt in a long time, and they had started to feel very scary to her. She told me that sometimes she had feelings of overwhelm, or felt disorientated. She couldn’t concentrate and had trouble focusing. So, we worked on the importance of allowing her feelings to come to the surface and how she should move toward them instead of away from them. She started to notice that when she connected and acknowledged her feelings, she could feel that most of them were coming from her childhood memories. She remembered how on many occasions in her past, she’d tried to ignore her feelings or push them aside. Now, she was allowing herself to became fully aware of them and she was willing to look into those deep dark places within in herself. At this point, she immersed herself and allowed herself to totally feel and grieve, understanding that grief needs an outlet, no matter how painful. As uncomfortable and miserable as grief felt, it’s the only way to get through the painful losses, and by giving herself permission she knew that everything she was feeling, and all that she was going through, that in the end, everything would be OK. My client continued to work, and to learn how to become fully open to her emotions, moving through the process until she no longer felt stuck. After sometime, she proudly announced that she was ready to switch her focus and really start to take care of herself.
This was one client’s way of reacting and dealing with the death of her relationship. Overtime, as she began to be gentle with herself, she finally accepted her loss, fully knowing that there would be a few ups and downs along the way. She continued to sort out her feelings and thoughts, allowing herself truly feel and grieve.
Death is probably one of the most challenging things that a person can face. Losing someone we love is very hard, and accepting that loss for many can be very difficult. It creates an emotionally painful experience that can have a real effect on the mind, body, and spirit. These emotions that have to do with loss can be continually triggered throughout our lives, as there are many reminders such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, even places that you’ve visited with the person you’ve lost. When we are triggered by these external reminders, it’s because, the emotion of grief, comes up and it helps us to remember, rather than forget. If we allow the knowledge, there is actually a kind of bittersweet beauty in the remembrance, and we can see that we really do not want to forget the gift of that relationship. To have had it all, the blessing of that. There are no simple ways to get through the pain caused by loss and we may feel like nothing can ease the pain, no person or words can possibly help. However, when we feel ready, listening about what has helped other people might help us too, as it is important to share our grief rather than keep it locked inside.
A few things to remember if you are grieving:
- Let yourself grieve. There are many ways besides crying to get those feelings out. Writing, exercise, talking about your loss, and meditating are some examples.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthfully, avoid alcohol drugs (they just numb your feelings). When you are ready, do something you enjoy.
- Let people help. Your friends and family may not know what to do, or say, to make it better. However, it helps to have people who are supportive and understanding around you. There are professional services and support, too.
- Try not to become isolated and grieve alone. You’re not a burden to anyone you love.
It is hard to know how to help or what to say to someone who is grieving.
Here are a few tips for family and friends:
- Be there to listen to their story when they are ready and want to talk.
- Let them know that you care and acknowledge their loss.
- If and when they need extra support, help them to find the information they may need or want.
- Let them know that you don’t know what to do or say, but you are always there for them if they need you.
- Be understanding as they may act very differently than their usual selves.
- Be on the lookout for signs of them having overwhelming feelings and may want to hurt themselves or others.
What not to do:
- Never feel like you can take away their pain
- Do not compare their loss to yours
- Don’t tell them, “You’ll get over it.”
- Don’t say, “I know how you feel”. Everyone is different
Grief and loss takes us on a difficult journey. It’s something we all go through, and not necessary ever get over. Loss is an inevitable journey. It is not about forgetting, but finding some sense of peace, rather than pain. Learning to take action steps that help lead you to recovery, requires, open-mindedness, willingness, and courage. Allowing you to become fully open to your feelings, but unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and many people find themselves stuck at some stage of the process. Remember, that there is always a way out.
Understanding your emotions, taking care of yourself, and seeking out support when you are ready, will help you to heal and move on with your life.
If you need support please reach out and let’s chat.
Much love. Diane
Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you are bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s a joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
Diane Morgan works with women who are overwhelmed and torn by the aging process and have a hard time finding themselves and their place in life during and beyond midlife. She is the creator of a powerful transformational program Awaken Your Beauty Inside Out: Fall In Love With The Skin You’re In. This phenomenal program capitalizes on her 20 plus years of experience in the beauty industry and her expertise as a certified Master Empowerment Coach for women.