LifeChanger Kit

Module 1


Understanding
Loss


Coming . .Ready
or Not


Elements
of Grief


Grief Hurts


Why is Grieving
so Hard?


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Coping with Loss & Grief

Understanding Loss

Module 1 page 1


Compare your griefs with other men's and they will seem less.Spanish proverb


We don’t always appreciate the physical, emotional, rational, spiritual and social factors in our make-up. The value of each of these components needs to be understood and nurtured in a balanced way so that we may learn to enjoy daily life, and grow lives full of purpose and meaning. It is essential to recognised these life factors when we have to deal with loss and grief.

The Birth of Losses
From the time of our birth until the moment of death we experience a whole chain of varied losses. Most of them are of minor consequence, but although we suffer less major losses in life their implications are serious. Losses begin the moment we are born.

Process or Maturational Loss
Have you noticed that losses seem to come to you in clusters that create anxiety and chaos in your life.

Often losses are more of a process rather than a static event. Here are two examples:-

A mother brings home a new baby and her three year old, who up till now has had all of Mum's attention, gets his nose out of joint because to him it seems as if his world has fallen apart.

A new bride becomes homesick (a form of grief) after leaving her parental home. Years later she feels what her mother felt when her own daughter does the same. Still later when all the brood have left and life has moved on, she and her husband have to sell the family home and move into a senior citizen one bedroom flat. Eventually her husband dies and she becomes handicapped due to aging and can no longer drive her car. This is called process or maturational loss.

Situational Loss
There are many types of loss. Giving up a pet because of moving to a smaller place in the city; business failure due to an economic recession; loss of stock, crops, or the family farm due to drought, floods, fires or bankrupcy; losing your job; being made redundant from work; being unable to find desired work as a school leaver etc., ... These are known as situational losses.

Secondary Situation Loss
In life we often find that one thing leads to another. Let's look at a young man who takes repeated 'sickies' at work and finally is fired from his job. He gets a new job and vows never to cheat by taking 'sickies' again. However, now he is in a position of low seniority and when business slows down he is laid off. Because of this his self-respect is shattered and depression sets in. He is now suffering a secondary situation loss.

Accidental Loss
When tragedies occur such as sudden, unexpected death, loss of limb, body disfigurement, bodily function due to mishap, or the destruction of the family home by cyclone, flood or bushfire, the victims are subject to accidental loss.

Regardless of the type of loss, they all tend to immobilise the loser for a limited period of time basically because they are unexpected and do not fit into our life's plans.

Newly weds don't have a place for divorce in their expectations. They have grown up with the dream of meeting the ideal person, falling in love, marrying and staying in love forever. There is often much denial, and false hope entertained prior to a divorce taking place. In many cases a great amount of energy is expended for reconciliation beyond the point of reason. The word 'single' is a trigger word to some newly divorced people. It sends a chill up and down their spines. They are apprehensive of what others will think of them now as a single person and they are haunted by their own unwelcome feelings when they apply the word to themselves.

Loss and Life Expectations
People suffering loss can often wish for a magic formula to relieve the pain and it is common for them to resort to drugs, alcohol, overeating, oversleeping etc., all because their loss was shaped differently than the pattern of life expectations.

Life Plan
Loss seems to overwhelm those who do not have concrete plans for their lives. Someone has said that we all need to have a life plan that outlasts life expectancy.

Strengths and Defences
To help us to be able to turn losses into gains, we need to build strengths and defences into our lives.

This is much easier for those of us who live in secure democratic societies. It is much more difficult for the millions who live in insecure societies in which people live in fear of their lives from day to day with no guarantee that there will be a tomorrow.

People who isolate themselves from others and form few close friends are setting themselves up for loneliness when life shattering loss comes. To recover well from loss one needs a good multilateral support system.

One of the secrets of life is that the discovery of personal inner strength can only be made in the presence of loss and this strength comes through the integration of these worthwhile discoveries about oneself throughout life.

Discovery . . . Relief . . . Recovery . . . Hope

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