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Additional Thoughts on Loss

There is always more to say about loss and grief as they can be with us on a daily basis. Major losses can occur back-to-back within a short period of time or over time, and what seems like minor losses may piggyback on each other and create feelings of un-grieved monumental loss. It isn't appropriate to compare experiences or judge another person's loss and grieving process. Loss and grief are completely subjective and individual. What is a very significant loss to one person may not be so for another. Intensity of emotional response to loss varies as well with the griever and particular events. Because loss is an inherent aspect of life over a lifetime there can be great amounts of loss built up in the unconscious psyche, stored and triggered with successive losses.

Many people suffer silently and minimize their losses particularly if they feel alone and have no one they feel they can share with, or if they feel that their suffering could be a burden to someone else, or if it feels too personal, sacred, and/or painful to talk about. All situations in life can potentially generate loss as either the cause or effect of work, family relationships, intimate relationships, friendships, and relating with oneself. A variety of defenses can build up in order to avoid dealing with losses. If internalized, depression, anger, judgements of oneself and others, guilt, and blame, for example, can lead to changes in our immunity and produce illness and/or addictive coping behaviors.

Where to begin when suffering from loss and trauma? Awareness is crucial. Start observing and accepting your feelings in as gentle a way possible. Try to identify what is going on in your body or mind that may be indicative of your vulnerable and/or fragile feelings. Nurture the inner aspect of yourself where your feelings originate (some have called this the inner child) and go easy on expectations, the 'shoulds' and 'should nots' about how to think, feel, and behave amidst this inner grief. It's not so much that it takes a certain amount of time to heal or lessen the emotional pain, but it is how one grieves that determines how but not so much when one heals.

It may be valuable to write in a journal, recording dreams, feelings, and experiences. Try not to bury or disguise your feelings with distractions or unhealthy behaviors. It is OK to feel whatever you are feeling. Write down all the losses and associated feelings you can think of, including childhood wounds. It will be easier to let go of suffering when you become aware of these and start having compassion for yourself.

There are too many superficial adages about loss, grieving, and recovery from grieving. There are a number of books on these concepts which I feel are very good:

These books can be purchased at Amazon, some bookstores, and other book-selling websites. I find that they are quite good for starting to explore and heal, and valuable for beginning to provide comfort. Psychologically exploring in depth what is underneath wounding through our senses, intuitions, thoughts, feelings, and images from dreams and waking states can be revealing and make meaning. A potential healing power of wounds is finding how the painful experiences may lead to something else in life for oneself or others. Of course this statement is not meant to minimize or bypass anyone's painful feelings. Grief work through Counseling for New Beginnings is done sensitively, with compassionate honoring and witnessing.

Working by oneself to release the power of life's losses can be daunting. So if and when you feel ready to work with someone outside yourself, please contact me. It is possible to move beyond exquisite pain into new emotional beginnings. Often speaking the unspeakable begins the healing.