The Grief and Loss Journey

I have been writing articles that are published in the local Weekly Newspaper for over 3 years now. I will begin to share them here on my website also. At any time if you read an article and wonder about something or have questions, please let me know through an email on the website. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.

I believe no one escapes the experience of grief and loss. Loss can be experienced in many ways such as a death, relationship ending, not seeing family for whatever reason, job loss, relocating, mental illness concerns and the list can continue.

Grief and loss experiences are unique to each individual and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. There are however, different components to grieving that can to be considered when looking at loss such as; age, culture, type of loss, sudden or traumatic death, role changes, family dynamics, subsequent loss scenarios and complicated grief to name a few.

Many people in our culture grieve, but they do not mourn. Instead of being encouraged to express their grief outwardly, they are often greeted with messages such as “carry on”, “keep your chin up,” and “keep busy.” This can result with a person grieving in isolation, instead of mourning outwardly in the presence of loving companions or friends. This is where people can get “STUCK” and unable to process their grief.

“Grief” is the internal or inward expression of loss such as thoughts and feelings; asking “WHY” questions and emotions of sorrow, sadness, fear, aloneness, and more. When a person is unable to share this with anyone there is a potential for them to shut down; get stuck.

“Mourning” is the outward expressions of grief people see such as crying, isolating self, and what clothing is worn. Historically people wore black in many countries, but not as often now. Sometimes, you may see grieving people who are not taking care of themselves or the complete opposite, where the person looks great.

You might ask, “What can I do to help someone or myself who is grieving”? One of the most important gifts you can give someone who is grieving is a listening ear without judgment. Seek other resources such as grief counsellors or support groups if needed, but realize not everyone needs additional resources to journey through grief; a friend is all you need.

In the coming months I will talk about a variety of grief and loss concerns, resources and more. Barbara J. Saunders is a grief counsellor/Thanatologist.