Grief After Loss
Losing a loved one can be devastating to you and those around you. Sadly, it’s a natural part of our lives, and something we all have to endure at some point in time. In response to a loss, we may experience a series of feelings, thoughts, physical reactions or behaviours as part of the grieving process.
Grief is as individual as your fingerprint; it isn’t tidy and there are no rules or timeframes, however, it’s useful to gain some understanding about the grieving process - consider psychologist William Worden’s four tasks of healthy grief, a process that may empower those struggling with a loss, and help you adjust to a new normal.
Step 1: Accept the reality of loss
Our initial reaction to a loss may be denial, before slowly absorbing the full weight of the loss. Confronting denial and accepting that the loss has occurred is a first step towards adapting and moving forward with our lives.
Step 2: Experience the pain of grief
Avoiding the pain of grief only compounds it. For us to move on, we must experience the pain of the loss. Allow the emotions into our consciousness and take steps to process those feelings.
Step 3: Adjust to a life without that person
You may feel that adjusting to a life without your loved one is a betrayal of that person. This type of reasoning can leave you stuck, so it’s important to adjust and adapt to the new normal. Life won’t be the same without that person and you may need to reorient and restructure your life in some way in order to move forward.
Step 4: Find an enduring connection while embarking on a new life
While the person in your life may be gone, what hasn’t gone is the joy and love you felt with that person. Try to think of the time you had with them as a gift, focusing on what you received from your loved one.
Find inspiration where you can:
"Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us." —Ecclesiastes 7:3
From the Muslim mystical traditional of Sufism, the mystic Rumi had this to say about loss:
"Be full of sorrow, that you may become hill of joy; weep, that you may break into laughter."
"What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle."
Connect with those around you
Healthy grieving is not easy, but it’s an important step to help you move forward. Reach out to others and let it take all the time it needs.
Rituals and symbolism are important in life, especially during times of transition. A funeral service is an important event, not just for family and loved ones, but also for friends and members of the wider community. And while a funeral service is a formal acknowledgement that someone has died, it is also a celebration of their life.
CANZ Funeral Celebrants listen with empathy and work closely with your funeral director to create a ceremony that will reflect your family’s wishes. Find a CANZ Celebrant here.