Change and loss are hard to accept. We like to be in control, and our losses remind us that often we are not. We want to make sense of the world, and sometimes we just can’t. As we age, we experience more and more losses, which include not only the deaths of loved ones, but also divorce, loss of youth and vitality, health, abilities, familiar roles, career, purpose, dreams and plans, and so on. Many of these losses are natural, but can still bring about feelings of sadness, despair, and continuing depression.
A significant loss can turn our world upside down. It can leave us feeling very alone, afraid, and even crazy. We may struggle with feelings of anger, guilt, and suicidal thoughts. Grief is a difficult journey, and it is different for every person. There is no instruction manual for dealing with loss.
Grief must be expressed. It can’t be ignored or buried or avoided. Sometimes people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs, or find other unhealthy distractions, in order to avoid the pain of loss and grief. Talking about your feelings and having support through the grief process is much more helpful. Understanding the challenges and impacts of loss can help one to find some emotional balance during this very stressful time.
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.” – Kenji Miyazawa