Loss, Bereavement and Mourning

 

What Is Loss?

 

Loss occurs when we lose something that is precious to us. It usually refers to a person, for example – the death of a loved one, but it can also denote many other circumstances.

 

Different Types Of Loss:

 

 

What Happens When We Experience Loss?

 

Depending on the circumstances, our first reaction to loss is usually shock. This may manifest itself in feelings of numbness and disbelief. We may end up feeling spaced out, dizzy, forgetful and experiencing very bad sleep patterns. It is important to acknowledge what we are going through and to look after ourselves by ensuring that we get as much rest as possible and avoid exhaustion by only doing what is absolutely necessary to get through each day. DIY and housework can wait – it’s more important to catch up on missed sleep and spend time with the people we love to benefit from their support.

 

How Can We Get Over A Loss?

 

If we are able to acknowledge the gravity of our loss then we will be able to accept and process it. Depression can result from unprocessed feelings – in the case of loss this is usually the pushing down of sadness and anger. As uncomfortable and scary as these feelings can be it is better for us to stay with them in order that they can move on. So many people bury their feelings deep down because they are unconsciously afraid of them. But suppressing our emotions only builds up trouble for later. Repressed feelings may develop into full-blown depression or uncontrollable anger which spits out at inappropriate times. It is far healthier to stay with these feelings. If we can bear to acknowledge our emotions they will pass and we will soon feel something else.

Another reason to ensure that we process grief is that each loss can bring up feelings linked to an earlier bereavement. Going to a loved one’s funeral may unconsciously bring up memories and feelings associated with an earlier loss like the father leaving the childhood home or an inability to conceive. If we don’t process earlier losses in life, current bereavements can feel overwhelming.

I can’t state how important it is to process feelings of loss as they are happening. Bravery and time spent acknowledging a loss, feeling the anger, pain, sadness and hurt and sharing it with someone we trust is vital to our recovery. Acceptance and the ability to move on from the loss will be much quicker and more genuine if we are able to do this.