Coping with Loss & Grief

The Broken Circle

Module 2 page 5


Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
— Winston Churchill


When you lose someone through death or divorce, it is not uncommon to find yourself saying, "Part of me is gone" or, " I am no longer a complete person." However, this is not the case.You really are the same person, with the same qualities and capacity for living a worthwhile and fruitful life.

The problem is that such a great loss affects the perception you have of yourself. Self-worth takes a battering. What is needed is a personal assessment to be made of one's assets and qualities so that things can be seen in an even better light than before the loss took place. Discussions with discerning trustworthy friends about your personal perceptions will allow them to help you to understand that you did not lose part of yourself, but rather lost the relationship you had with an important person in your life.

A deep loss affects one's perception of self

The overlapping portions of the two circles in fig.1 represent the part of you which you invest in another person to form an intimate relationship. When you lose someone you love dearly, although you remain as a person, the relationship is gone, you feel that you are left with a gaping hole in your life with only the memories of the investment you made in the relationship.

A memory screen acts as a barrier to forces likely to invade the now vulnerable you

The fact is, there is really no gaping hole. The 'gaping hole in your heart' is really the remains of the relationship fixed in your memory.

A memory screen (fig.3) forms to act as a barrier against forces likely to invade the now 'vulnerable you'.

In some instances a grieving person will shut away any recall of memories of the relationship and the memory screen then develops into a hardening life scar which, instead of protecting you, maintains the deep seated hurting. Because life now seems to have a gap out of it, the scar becomes a barrier to healing (fig.4). If the grieving person remains in this state he or she will not recover to a full and productive life.

A memory screen can develop into a hardening life scar

Life hardened scars can become a barrier to healing

Recovery from within through the development of attitude and outlook
Figure 5 illustrates how recovery forces rebuild a wholesome circle once more. However the healthy intimate memory segment still remains. This area is known as a life imprint. (Fig: 6)

The empty intimacy space can be filled with other relationships and interests, but it is like filling the area with more circles, there will always be small spaces unfilled. The 'Life Imprint' remains evident between unfilled spaces in your life. (Fig.7)

Your life is permanently strengthened by the person you loved

The love of the person now gone is still part of your life
Because love does not diminish with the giving, what you gave in the relationship to the one who is no longer with you is not lost.

Because you shared your life with someone else, you are a richer person. A deeper substance of character has been developed and there is a broader sense of healthy self-worth: a realisation of your value to your Creator.

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

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