Dealing with Loss
grief, and grief work
consists of separation from any person or thing
important to you. For children and for adults,
a divorce can be as painful and confusing a loss
as a death in the family.
Such an event normally triggers grief:
the emotions, physical sensations, thoughts, and
behaviors that commonly occur in reaction to a
loss. Normal grief, for both adults and children,
can include the following:
Tightness (chest, throat)
Sensitivity (to noise)
Lack of energy
Sense of presence
Grief work, or mourning,
is the process of dealing with a loss so that
you can go on living fully. The basic tasks of
grief work may be summarized as follows:
- Acknowledge and understand
what you are losing.
Let yourself develop the habit of being aware
of your thoughts. Ask yourself, "What am I
thinking?" What happened? These are unfamiliar
events. How can I understand what is happening?
What is not here for me any more? How permanent
is this loss? What will be different as a
result of this change?
- Experience and honor
the emotions triggered by the loss.
Ask yourself, "What am I feeling?" I'm bewildered
by a roller coaster of strong emotions that
I am experiencing: numbness, sadness, guilt,
anger, hurt, confusion, anxiety, fear. How
can I go about recognizing and honoring these
feelings? How can I express them? How can
I find out whether or not they are normal?
How shall I deal with them?
- Live in the present
as you take effective action to memorialize
the loss, and whatever life transition it
Honor yourself by going on with life now.
At the same time, ask yourself what you can
do to give the person or relationship you
have lost a new role in your life. Find a
way to appreciate what you have lost even
after it is gone.
- Re-examine your beliefs
and values as you write the next chapter of
Ask yourself, "What meaning can I attach to
this divorce?" What do these events and these
internal experiences mean about me as a person?
About my relationship to what has been lost?
About what will happen to me in the future?
About my place in the universe?
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