Recently in a grief recovery group that I lead, a griever asked if what they were experiencing was a result of grief. They said “I have a friend who lost his dad recently. I am worried about him. I haven’t seen my friend cry or even get sad that his dad has passed away. Is that normal? I feel embarrassed because I am feeling incredibly sad about his loss. Why doesn’t my friend?” Have you ever wondered if what you are feeling is be grief and if it is normal?
Grief is defined as a loss of attachment to a person, place, or thing. It is the emotional void left from losing something or someone significant in your life, either suddenly or over time. Grief is experienced when you lose a loved one to death. It can impact your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and cause physiological changes that vary in pattern and intensity over time (grief changes the brain structure and the way it functions). The intensity of our is directly proportional to the strength of our attachment to the person or thing that we lost. When I asked the griever from my grief group about his friend’s relationship with his dad, he told me his friend wasn’t close to his dad, but this griever was. There is a broken attachment with his friend’s father that he is grieving the loss of.
Grief also has a timeline. Over time, it should start to get better. Your thoughts will start to have more clarity, you will feel more like yourself, you will begin to look forward to rebuilding your life without the person or thing you lost, and a beginning of hope will return. The more you lean into doing the work of grief the less the intensity of the grief will be. This is not easy, but it is necessary to have a healthy grief experience. Grief will demand that you attend to it either now or later in your life. Choose now. Prolonging or delaying grief will complicate the grieving process and can add complications to your grief journey.
Grieving is a normal part of living. You do not have to experience a direct loss to be experiencing grief. We have just come through an unprecedented event worldwide concerning Covid-19 and now the world is bracing for wars and rumors of wars. There is a struggle to find hope and a sense of safety each day. I know many people are struggling to find meaning and purpose in all the changes we have gone through in the last few years. Our sense of safety has been challenged to its limits in the last few years. There is a natural grief that comes with this loss of security. Left unprocessed this grief can turn into anxiety or mild depression. It is OK not to be OK. Grieve what you are feeling. Talk to others about what you feel. Allow yourself time to grieve and find hope to grow by being grateful for what you do have.
If you do not find your sense of safety returning and you are wondering if your grief is normal talk to a grief counselor or grief coach. Sometimes just telling your story and having a safe place to talk about the things that are worrying you can make a huge difference. We would like to connect with you and help you discover what you can do to help yourself or your family and friends grieve in a healthy way.
Essentials 2 Grief Transformation and Oliver’s Funeral Home offer grief groups, one on one grief counseling, family counseling, grief recovery, life recovery, purpose and identity coaching, mental health coaching, and counseling. Join a group and connect in a safe community to grieve and be encouraged with other people who understand what you are experiencing.
I look forward to meeting you in the future.
Written by Kimberly Talmey