Any Loss Can Seem Like a Big Deal
Whether you have recently lost a parent, spouse, child, sibling, aunt, uncle or best friend, the loss is very real and very pervasive. Or maybe you lost a job, a pet or your good health. Any loss is a big deal, and how you grieve that loss is unique to you. Part of coping with the death of a loved one, for instance, involves celebrating their life and what they meant to you. It also means getting help when you feel you can’t do it alone. That’s where bereavement services in San Mateo and elsewhere come in.
From grief counseling and support groups to memorials and workshops, grieving is a very individual process, so you have to do what’s right for you. Sometimes a loss can be compounded, with events that piggyback each other and overwhelm your senses. Perhaps you just lost your husband to a long cancer battle and then not too long after, you lost your beloved dog who you both adored for 15 years. Losing your pet feels like a double whammy because it was a symbol of something the two of you as a couple loved very dearly. Loss following loss can be especially cruel, putting you on a longer path to recovery.
Or maybe you lost an aging parent to Alzheimer’s, leaving you exhausted and drained after years of caregiving, only to find out you are getting laid off from the company you have worked for for the last 25 years. You didn’t lose a person, but you may feel like you’re losing your lifeline, your identity, your hope, and your means of making a living for your own family. Losing a job is still a huge loss, especially when it comes at a time where you’re vulnerable and already reeling from grief.
Grieving is About Loss, Not Just Death
Grief doesn’t have to be just about dying. Yes, it’s common to associate the word “grief” with your emotional state after someone you love dies. However, grief is really about the loss of any kind. When you lose a friend, break up with someone, go through a divorce or anything that falls into the category of loss, you experience a period of mourning and grief that can feel just as intense as the feelings you would have after someone dies.
Grief is not a linear process. As part of the grieving process, you may experience a gamut of emotions, and not in the same order for everyone: sadness, anger, depression, acceptance, etc. It’s very natural to have a tough time accepting the fact that what you once had is now gone. Human beings have a difficult time dealing with change. It’s in our nature. When we break up with someone, our routines and the day-to-day activities are disrupted. The loss is almost like they died because you no longer have them by your side.
Same with divorce. It’s been said it’s like a death — which it is, in a way. The death of a marriage, the death of the union of two people. This can be devastating whether you had been together for five years or 50. Bereavement support in any form is helpful to get us through these tough times. Support groups are designed for those going through a divorce, or those who have lost a beloved pet, or those who are stuck in the sandwich generation watching their elderly parent die while also caring for their own families. These are all losses and they all need to be dealt with.
Even subtle losses can trigger a sense of grief. For instance, you may grieve after moving away from home for the first time, after graduating from college, or changing jobs. Whatever your loss is, it’s important to remember that it’s personal to you, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or that it’s only appropriate to grieve over certain things, points out HelpGuide.
Your Grief is Real
No matter what type of loss you’ve experienced, your grief is real. Remember, grief is about loss, and that loss comes in several forms – death is just one of them. From the loss of health to the loss of innocence that comes from abuse or neglect, your grief is real and it comes with many conflicting feelings that are difficult or confusing, says the Huffington Post. Some of the most common reactions to loss include:
- Feelings of loneliness and isolation
- The desire to be alone
- The inability to reach out to friends and loved ones
- Loss of control of thoughts and feelings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Guilt, constant anxiety, or remorse or over what you may have done differently
- Anxiety and fear
- Irritability, anger, and frustration at someone else, yourself, or just the situation
- Lethargy and exhaustion
These are all normal reactions to grief, but grief is as unique as the individuals who go through it. You can’t rush it and you have to be patient with yourself. You will hear other people tell you to “get over it…it’s not like someone died…you’ll get another job…you’ll find someone new…you can get another pet at the shelter…just get some therapy and you’ll be fine.” These words can be hurtful because they underestimate your grief and make you feel as though you shouldn’t be feeling this way.
The key is to grieve at your own pace, whether that loss is the death of a loved one, the end of a romantic relationship, the loss of a pet, a cancer diagnosis, or the loss of a job.
Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice
Our bereavement services are designed to help you through loss, so please contact us at 888-978-1306 to learn more about our support groups, memorials, workshops, and counseling.