Grieving Losses Other Than Death

Grief 2

The topic of grief has been on my heart for several months. For many of us, including myself, we typically only think of grief with losing someone we love. But all of us at one time or another find ourselves grieving losses other than death. I believe that as a society, we typically do not give merit to the other places grief can show up.

Loss comes in the form of death, but also making a move, selling a home, losing a friendship or relationship with a family member, and one which has been completely overlooked the past six months—the loss of normal routines and connections.

You are likely in a season of grief right now. Have you considered that?

Regardless of the type of loss you’ve experienced, your grief is real.

Right now, in my season for example, I am grieving losses other than death. I am struggling with grief over selling a home we built with all our heart and soul (more on that and why we have chosen to do that in another post), moving from the small town we’ve been blessed to be a part of for over four years, launching into a season of uncertainty, being isolated from friends and family during this pandemic, grieving the inability to proceed with vacation plans we made, and having any sense of control and ability to dream and plan, and the one big one for me is a disintegration of a relationship with a close family member without knowing exactly why.

What we often don’t realize is that grief is not always about death. Grief is about loss, and that loss comes in many forms, death being just one of them.

My heart has been tender for so many months, and I am sure if you sat down and thought about your situation and what has been happening, you could come up with a list as well. Grief often brings along varied feelings that may be difficult or confusing for you. Some of the most common reactions to loss are:

  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation. A desire to be alone or an inability to converse with or reach out to friends and loved ones.
  • Loss of control of your thoughts and feelings. Feeling like you’re “going crazy.”
  • Difficulty concentrating, numbness.
  • Guilt, remorse, or constant anxiety over what you could have done differently.
  • Anxiety and fear.
  • Irritability, frustration, and anger at yourself, someone else, or the situation at hand.
  • Listlessness, lethargy, and general exhaustion.

Any of those sound familiar?

When you’ve experienced loss and you feel any of the above, it’s important to realize that this is a normal reaction to grief. While many are looking for a “quick fix” or a way in which to accelerate the grieving process, it’s important to remember that grief is as unique as the individuals who experience it. It can’t always be rushed, and it’s critical that you’re kind with yourself as some days will inevitably be better than others.

My desire is to help bring some relief, some acknowledgment that it is okay to not be okay. When we recognize issues, we can then begin to nourish those areas to bring healing. The way in which you cope with your grief makes a world of difference. Letting yourself feel the grief is critical, because grief needs an outlet, however painful. I am seeing that now, that I will often just begin crying and cannot explain it. My typical “put-together” self will begin to be irritated with myself because I am feeling and expressing myself, but I am learning to allow the process to flow in order to bring healing.

I have been focusing on a few things that I hope will help you as you nourish your soul and bring healing.

Proper nutrition

Grief takes its toll on the body, depriving you of energy and strength. Now is the time to eat whole, nutritious foods that will help keep your body strong while you heal. Treat your body good.

Nurturing sleep

Grief and sleeplessness go hand in hand. I have experienced this like never before in the last six months. However, your body—and mind—heal during sleep, so all those sleepless hours can really exacerbate suffering. I have been using natural methods to help by mind wind down and release anxiety, some of which I shared in this post.

Rest and relaxation

Lethargy can be part of grieving, but allowing yourself to relax does not mean wallowing in bed all day. (Okay, I may have done that a time or two.) It means allowing yourself to feel pampered or indulged; it means having grace with ourselves. You can take it one step further and find ways to truly nurture yourself—like getting a massage, reading a good book, journaling, listening to the waves crash on the beach, or sitting with headphones on listening to worship music.

Find your tribe

I am grateful for a small group of friends who will gather around and listen, pray for me, and help me feel valued. I am not able to do this in person unfortunately, but we have used Marco Polo, a wonderful app that connects us together. If I hadn’t had a group of friends to walk this journey with, I would have crumbled. This is something we need to seek out, building relationships is hard work; however, it is so worth it!

Professional help

Sometimes grief can feel too big to bear on our own, and that is okay. Seeking help from a qualified professional is the best way to begin dealing with your grief in a productive manner. I urge you, if you are needing to talk to someone, seek out a Christian counselor via recommendations from friends or a local church in your area.

Don’t ever feel silly or downplay your feelings when you find yourself grieving losses other than death. Acknowledge it, and do what you need to do to promote healing for your heart.

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