The Meaning of Loss and the Process of Grief

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The word loss is easily identifiable with loss of business, money or usually financial issues. The other time it comes close is when you lose someone, mostly a love one, either because of a break up or death. In either scenarios, the experience of loss can be varying and then follows the process of grief which has its own challenges.

Let’s start by defining loss, which according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary says: the act of losing possession, a person, a failure to gain, win, obtain or utilize.

We can property, a job, a business, the car, a phone, all kinds of materialistic possessions and while they may give us temporary grief or stress, for most part they can be replaced or even found. You can end up reconciling financially and emotionally all your data is available on a cloud so you can start over again. Let’s not dismiss the fact that losing a job or business or financial flow can ruin the everyday life and end up costing a life. Here, then there is grief that requires immediate attention.

Losing a person is sometimes almost impossible to get over. The good news is that there is help and it is advisable to process the grief with a professional like a Counsellor in Psychology or even Psychiatrist if required. The consequences of delayed grief is detrimental to the mental health wellbeing of not only the individual suffering the loss but to others nearby.

A breakup in a relationship can have its own complications. There are a lot of factors to consider, from how long you have been going out, how close and intimate where you and expectations you had invested, among other items. The worst pain of the breakup is the ghosting or the shut down, especially because today’s technology and communication tools allow us to be in touch every second in many ways possible. Thus, to accept or to shut out someone and go blank on them is perhaps the millennial way of denial. The most gentle explanation that can help you understand “ghosting” is by Russell Brand, check out his video on ‘Why You Got Ghosted?’

American-Swiss Psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was asked to write a book on death and dying that patients were facing at the hospital. She had several interviews with the patients and she too admitted that till the last moment they demonstrated hope. Subsequently came the stages of grief and these are 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. (Read More)

In the case of a breakup there can be 7 stages of grief and these are: 1. Desperate for Answers; 2. Denial; 3. Bargaining; 4. Relapse; 5. Anger; 6. Initial Acceptance; 7. Redirected Hope. (Read More)

It is not a must that you have to experience each stage in sequence, you can either overlap or get stuck in either stage. However, each person has their own way of processing grief and are perfectly entitled to do so. If however the grief is prolonged, delayed and starts to affect their physical, mental health and everyday of life, then there is need for urgent intervention.

Death in any way is unplanned and carries the biggest shock still for most. During the current pandemic Covid-19, the world has awakened to what it means to lose not only life, but the way of life, to be strangled by a virus and be held hostage. This has been a great example of how humans are being faced with the phenomenon that the Master/God is the one and only having the power of your life. Doctors and nurses can help you prolong, but ultimately He decides how many more breaths you have to take. Never has humanity come close to such a death defying situation. The positive side has been that quite a few have rediscovered the beauty of life and the value of relationships. That money, possessions and statuses do not last, but the touch of a hand, the kiss on the cheek, the emotional discussions and watching of your loved ones, still burn the fire of life inside us.

Initially there is denial to accept the isolation and lockdown; then came the anger and the urgency to put blame on someone or a country; quickly we started to bargain on how best to cope; then the depression set in when bills were due, jobs were lost, loved ones succumbed to the virus; and now we are in acceptance- that this is the new normal and we need to move forward.

This grief process has been varied from city to city, country to country, society to society, family to family depending on economic, social and financial statuses. Also, a leading factor has been the access to Internet, which determined the connectivity between humans to keep talking, sharing and being there regardless of physical distancing.

This loss of life and time can not be replaced, but is has served a lesson that grief is real and needs attention. Nothing is normal anymore and your definition of normal can be different from another and that is perfectly ok. Another term often used to accept loss is, “closure”. Pauline Boss in the the podcast series of “On Being by Krista Tippett” lays it out beautifully, that closure can be called “ambiguous loss”.

How you close the chapter on what’s lost and the person who has gone is entirely up to you. Just know that certain mysteries will remain. Let them be.

#mentalhealth #lossandgrief #deathanddying #breakups #relationships #closure #psychology #counselling #mindovermatter #covid-19

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