And so I wait. I wait for time to heal the pain and raise me to me feet once again – so that I can start a new path, my own path, the one that will make me whole again.- Jack Canfield, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul II
Grief, loss, death and dying are profound human experiences that change us all. When we experience a loss, whether that loss is a death, natural or sudden, or the loss of an important relationship, job, pet, friend, etc., our lives will no longer be as they were. They are forever changed. In those moments it feels like this pain will never end. We feel alone. We are suffering.
Yet when we allow ourselves the opportunity to experience the loss it can be a transformative experience. We may experience growth that we did not expect. We may learn lessons that can only be taught when we have experienced a loss. As we process the loss we will see our lives differently and we will learn to engage in our lives in a new way. This is a slow, individual process. There is no recipe for healing grief and loss. Each of us moves through it in our own unique way.
Below are tasks to help us gauge where we are in the process of mourning.
Accept the reality of the loss – To move through this process one must experience the reality of the death/loss. The person is dead and reunion is impossible. The relationship or job or other loss will not come back. There is no way to go back; the goal is to move forward.
Work through the pain of grief – To move through this task one must allow and acknowledge the feelings of sadness, despair, and the physical and emotional responses to the loss.
Adjust to an environment in which the deceased or the loss is missing – Each must learn to redefine one’s role in life and one’s identity, utilizing new coping strategies and behaviors, and adjusting one’s sense of the world without the deceased.
Emotionally relocate the deceased or the loss and move on with life – Find an appropriate place for the deceased in one’s emotional life – a place that will enable one to go on living effectively in the world without the deceased.
These are not linear steps. You will move through them in the order that they come. You may go through them quickly or go through them several times. You may experience one more task several times, and this is to be expected. We each experience our losses in our own way and in our own time.
Does time heal all wounds? Perhaps, but what is more important is what we each learn during the time that we are healing.
These resources address basic information about bereavement and about coping with grief after any manner of death.
Other Resources in the Community
Eden Information and Referral (Eden I & R)