Grief and denial that comes with loss
The moment we are born into this world we start to experience loss and grief. We lose the warm safe place of our mother’s womb. As children we experience loss as we move away from dependence on our parents. We experience loss of special friendships, loss of the notion that we can accomplish anything as we encounter struggles academically or socially. As we age we experience loss of childhood, loss of innocence. Growing older we experience loss when our children move out and are on their own. There are so many times in life that humans experience change and the loss that comes with it. We grieve these losses similar to how we grieve death. One of the greatest losses a person can experience in their lifetime is the death of a loved one. When a loved one dies the loss is multifaceted. With the loss of a loved one so much dies with it. We must then grieve each and every one one of these losses.
Grieving more than just death when losing a loved one.
So many struggle with their grief after the death of a loved one because it is more than just one death that we must grieve. We must grieve many losses and deaths of many things that were associated with the person who passes. A woman I know would go to support group after support group to try to find a way to deal with the death of her husband. She exclaimed that none of them worked.
Getting stuck in Denial
When he was living he was the head of their company and took great care of her. Now that he is gone, she explained that she was able to get up and do all the work that she had done previously and that the business was still running. She was able to do all of that successfully without him there but she said she had no joy or desire for life anymore. He was her best friend, her companion, her business partner. She really just settled into the denial stage of her grief for so long. She came to a support group that at the beginning it was the custom to do a feelings check. The feelings check always occurred in the first 5-10 minutes. She was 10-15 minutes late everyday without fail.
At the end of the multi-week process each group member was to put together a plan on how they would work toward healing in their lives. When that day came, she could not make it to group. It was clear from the outside looking in that she did not want to dig down into her feelings about her loss. She was not ready to step outside of the denial stage. Certainly everyone grieves at their own pace and for her it was not fluid. She got caught in denial and whether consciously or not refused to process her own grief. It is as if she moved into acceptance that she was letting go of him and she just couldn’t do it. She knew he was gone but what she could not come to terms with everything else that she lost.
Grief covers a multitude of Losses.
She was no longer someone’s wife. No longer had a soul mate next to her. The business partner whom she could trust with her life was gone. She no longer had a best friend. Coming home to a house filled with the scent and flavors of her favorite foods no longer existed. The sweet voice to tell her she was beautiful was silent. She no longer had someone she knew could fix the furnace if something went wrong. Gone is the security and peace in her home. The loss of a loved one runs so deep and is so multifaceted it is almost overwhelming because the grief and recognition of another loss can pop up at any time. Her dreams of life were lost, some people stay trapped chasing after their lost dreams even when they are long gone. You than become trapped in grief and can sit there for years. Loss changes you, but if we confront the loss healing is possible.