Personal Experiences around Loss and Grief (Jan 2011)
Have you ever experienced a loss and wondered when you would finally feel better and remotely normal again? Were you so sad that you had a hard time putting a trace of a smile on your face? And did you end up saying or doing things that did not make sense?
Lately, I have been going through a series of significant losses – three of them in the past three months. I feel I’ve had my fair share.
Loss is defined as “an intentional or unintentional parting with someone or a something of value”. As soon as a person can develop an attachment to a person or a “thing” (circumstance, life condition etc.), s/he can experience loss and grief.
We all go through quite a number of losses throughout our lives. They come in all different sizes, shapes, and forms, e.g. losses caused by death, separation, retirement, or the move to another city or country; loss of health and/or mobility; being left as empty nesters, etc. etc. – the list is endless.
My personal experience of grieving and readjustment to the changed circumstances in my life is a challenge and a huge lesson for me. I find myself to be less energetic and harder to motivate. Keeping my business and myself up and running at a bare bones level is all I’ve been able to manage. Not much energy left for anything else. Also, I seem to do strange things, e.g. I stand in the wrong street waiting for my bus to come, I make comments that are out of context, inappropriate or simply stupid, and I’m having a hard time with making plans and setting intentions for the year ahead. Is this normal? Luckily, it is! Want to know why? Keep reading…
This past fall, in the middle of my various losses, I attended a course for professionals around “Loss & Grief” (an excellent course offered by the “Living through Loss Counselling Society”). And there I learnt that the cerebral cortex – the wavy and curly part of our brain – functions at a much lower level in situations of loss and grief than it normally would. Some of the functions of the cerebral cortex are appropriate communication, short-term memory, assessing one’s actions and their impact on others, as well as goal setting and planning for the future. Knowing this, my recent experiences actually make sense to me and I feel much more normal in this phase that otherwise has an uprooted and abnormal flavour to it.
The grieving process has its own dynamics, and for every person the experience is different. There are no rules as to the sequence of stages a person should go through and how soon we should be done with our grieving and mourning. Personally, I know that I’m not done with my grief. And, I now also know that the way I feel and the unusual things I experience are actually to be expected for someone in a situation of loss – and just knowing that makes me feel so much better.
Can you relate to any of the above? What are your experiences around loss and grief? I’d love to hear about them.
Next week, I’ll be sharing my experience with “The Hidden Gifts of Loss”. Yes, as contradictory as it may sound, there can actually be gifts hidden in the experience of loss. Come back if that interests you, and have a great week until then!