Grief is a struggle for everyone at some point in our lives and it seems appropriate after all the loss recently to talk about the process. It comes in all different shapes, sizes, kinds and times, and can be devastating and make someone unable to function. It can begin with a loss, including the death of a loved one, or even the loss of a job or home. So many people are going through trauma and loss from Harvey and now from Irma, and grief will be an issue for some time. No matter the source, it takes time to recover and to survive the process.
When many people think of grief, they think of death. Going through losing a loved one isn’t easy. Whether you are surviving the death of a spouse, a child, or a parent, moving on is difficult at best. There are changes in the family and the environment, which complicate the process, and there is no correct answer regarding how long it will take. In working with people who are processing such a loss, I have learned that each person is different in getting through the loss. Husbands and wives will move through the process of losing a child differently, which tends to put a strain on the relationship if the couple doesn’t understand that issue. If someone is grieving a parent or a friend, the same can be true. A spouse can be supportive but it can strain the relationship when someone has expectations that are unrealistic related to the process.
Other events that trigger forms of grief include losing a house to foreclosure, losing a job, having to move, and even understanding that there is no stopping mother nature. Each situation is a loss and a person will experience a process similar to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross stages of grief. The stages of grief help to put the process into a perspective and were included in her book, On Death and Dying, published in 1969. The stages include 1) Denial; 2) Bargaining; 3) Anger; 4) Depression; and 5) Acceptance. Each stage is different for each person, and the order changes as well. At times, people get through some of the states quickly, and others take time. For some, they go back and forth between stages, before being able to move to acceptance. For some, the stages of grief can be processed in a month, for others it may be a year. For others, it may take longer and be a life long struggle.
In doing research for this post, I read through other blogs that talked about the grieving process and how people move through it. Some people are able to move through the process without professional support and others will need the help of a therapist. For some, writing is helpful, as they release emotions by putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. For others, talking about the event to anyone who will listen is helpful. For children, they may draw pictures or play in a way that helps them process their loss. Some adults will also put their emotions into their art, be it music, painting, sculpture or any other form. The idea is to allow the release in a helpful way. To keep feelings bottled up is not good for your health. Cry it out, scream, write, whatever helps you, but get help if you get overwhelmed by the process.
There is no correct way to move through the process of grief. As you develop your new normal, give yourself time to adjust and find ways to comfort yourself that are healthy. Get help if you need it, and let yourself feel the loss, even if it hurts. Grieving is a natural process, and allowing yourself time to heal, will allow you to return to that happier place.