Thoughts About Dealing with Grief

What is the process of surviving grief? How can we manage to go through the stages of grief and learn the lessons that this experience is demanding that we learn? Can we enhance the processing of our grief so we can get through it most gracefully and maximize the benefits of this painful process? Can we be assisted by others involved in grieving or by a coach who can guide you through this unique experience? Can we maximize our learning as we process our grief AND serve others by sharing the process?

Everyone is different and each experience of loss and grief is unique. Since loss and grief are unavoidable experiences in life, can we engage in a process that can maximize the benefits and the learning that comes from this painful, but common, experience in life? In fact, from the moment we are born into the world we experience loss. From the warmth and safety of the womb, we are cast out into the world with the rudeness of cool air and gravity after the loss of our mother’s warmth and the buoyancy of floating in our prenatal environment. We must learn to adapt to the changes and the growth that living provides. With every learned adaptation we release our old self and enter into experiencing the world with new information and insights. This is how we develop from being a baby to growing into a child and finally into the more adult stages of life. With every step of growth we take there is a loss of innocence and we try to make the most from each of these developmental steps.

Most people admit that the support of family and friends can ease the pain of growth and enhance the essential learning and development along the way. A supportive group of fellow life explorers or trusted coach can make the processing most beneficial. For many people, our parents, siblings, and immediate family can serve as these mentors, coaches, or guides, at least for a while. Teachers, neighbors, and our youthful peers often take over but these relationships lack the bond that immediate families CAN have. (We must learn the tough lessons of selecting wisely the mentors that appear along the path of our life’s developmental stages. Mistakes are made that offer the opportunities to learn from the testing that life provides.)

At some point in our lives, we are challenged by significant losses. It may be the loss of parents or siblings or friends. It may be the loss of home environments or pets or experiences (like classrooms.) Or, you may suffer the loss of a spouse, a relationship, a divorce, a child, your health, your career/job, or your innocence as your life flows through the testing times of your life. Perhaps one of the most difficult experiences of loss is the loss of yourself or of your faith.

We are all unique and the unique differences make everyone’s experience of loss (and, in fact, every unique loss) a special unique challenge. My loss of my parents may have prepared me for the loss of my wife in some ways, however, the loss of the unique relationship I had with my wife is very different, for me, from the experience of the death of my parents. I am sure that everyone reading this article has your own series of unique losses experienced by the adventure of living your life.

In my research and from my personal experience, I believe that grieving your loss will move more quickly, if not easily, with enhanced learning opportunities if you have the “right” support. The support of healthy family or friends makes the process less lonely. The positive perspective of healthy friends will allow you to learn your lessons better. An experienced coach or therapist can be beneficial in mentoring you through this process, and it is a process that requires your time, energy, and your motivation. Not all friends, coaches, mentors, clergy, or therapists are “right” for you and your unique requirements so do not settle for the first person who appears, if you do not feel that they are perfect for you… Perhaps you will require a team of supporters and coaches. Sharing your grief and the “story,” repeatedly, will assist most people to wend their way through this difficult process. But, do not fall victim to the trap of getting stuck in your own “victim” place for too long (easier said than done.) Also, give the “gift” of allowing other people to give you support!

Ask yourself, if you can thank your loss for the lesson that you must learn. Can you be a better person due to the learning the lessons of this loss? Use the terrible pain of loss as a time of self-awareness and learning. It can be an experience that will ultimately enhance your self-esteem. The wisdom of surviving this painful experience will serve you in future travels through your life.

Avoiding dealing with grief often prolongs the process.

Keeping too busy can be avoidance.

My Pain, comes from My Loss. It is difficult to understand, how you will fill the “void” created by your loss.

Your anger may be an expression of your personal loss of control. People can get stuck in their anger.

People fear being alone and avoid their own company because they may feel driven to immerse themselves in another person’s life to avoid learning to accept their own life’s flaws or imperfections.

Please share if appropriate and send feedback to the Stress Education Center.

PS August 19th is the date of my wedding anniversary. I feel the loss of my wife from January, 2012 as I write. The lessons I have learned, AND continue to learn, from this loss are very important to me and my growth. Blessings to you readers and tell your family and friends how much you love them… Do not miss this opportunity.