Acknowledging Loss

What Is Loss?

Google defines loss as the state or feeling of grief when deprived of someone or something of value.

All of us have experienced a loss of one type or another. It could be the loss of a pet, a job, a cherished home, or a good friend.

We know what loss it, we’ve experienced it but we don’t really know how to deal with it.

Society’s Lessons

Our society doesn’t acknowledge loss. Typically we brush it under the rug. When someone experiences a loss we say things like:

better luck next time

be grateful for what you have

there are always more fish in the sea

you’ll make new friends

All of these statements are well meaning, but they don’t acknowledge the grief one feels with a loss. Instead, we are encouraged to ignore it and move on. Our grief often goes unrecognized by others and ourselves.

Loosing My Future

I remember so vividly sitting on the floor of the hospital bawling my eyes out. My husband was recovering in the room down the hall from surgery to remove a tumor in his brain. The surgery was successful, but the scans they did when he entered the hospital revealed that his cancer from 3 years prior had returned and metastasized in his chest. I knew right then what the coming year would be for us. It would be all about fighting the return of cancer.

I sat in the hallway and just sobbed. I was grieving the loss of our next year of life to cancer. I was angry and heartbroken. People wanted to comfort me, but all I wanted at that moment was to grieve.

Demands To Be Heard

Grief is an emotion that needs to be felt and acknowledged. When we try to ignore this critical step, our grief will often fester. For me, it was only after I grieved for our lost future that I was ready to move on and deal with the challenges of our present.

Grief Needs To Be Acknowledged

As caregivers, we often don’t give ourselves permission to grieve our losses. There is no time. We are too busy taking care of everything and everyone. Society teaches us to move on and focus on the positive.

It is so important to recognize your loss and allow yourself to grieve for it. No matter how seemingly small or trivial. When we don’t do this, we keep our selves stuck. Grief will fester in your body. It may show up as chronic aches and pains, insomnia, or a tendency to anger. It will often turn to resentment and lurk in the corner of your life for years.

Allow Your Grief

What have you lost? A precious girls night out once a month? A favorite vacation that your family won’t be going on this year? Your relationship with your husband? Its OK to grieve those things. Acknowledge the grief. Speak it out loud. Let it be there for a time. If you want to cry or rage, do so. One of the best ways to do this is to write out all your grief on paper.

Only when your grief has been felt, will you be released from its grip. You’ll discover you can move on and face the new challenges with both feet forward.

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