Grief And Loss
Grief and loss show up in so many ways:
Death or suicide of a friend, family member, or colleague.
Death of a pet, which can be just as difficult as the loss of a human family member.
Loss of a job, which often involves losing a community or friendships, losing a sense of who you are, losing your confidence, losing your dreams.
Moving, which also often involves losing a community or friendships, losing your sense of stability.
Loss of a relationship, whether it’s a breakup, a falling out with a friend, or gradual distancing due to a move or job change. Breakups often result in loss of your dreams and what you thought life could look like with that person.
There are so many possible losses associated with conception whether it’s miscarriages, stillbirths, or infertility. These can involve feeling like you aren’t really a woman or a man. Feeling like your body has betrayed you. Grieving the loss of the child who died or the children you were never able to conceive. Loss of the life you had imagined.
Medical issues and aging bodies can involve the loss of who you were or who you planned to be. Feeling like your body has betrayed you. A loss of independence or predictability of your capacities. No longer being able to do the things you enjoyed. These can impact relationships in many ways. Distancing yourself from others for fear of being a burden. Others distance from you because they don’t want to meet your increased needs. Difficulties with being consistent and reliable in your relationships. All of this can lead to the loss of relationships in your life.
When processing developmental trauma, there’s a whole lot of sad and mad that comes up about how you were treated, how you wish you had been treated, and sometimes grief over the fact that you will never get to have the relationship with that person that you had wanted. This can also come up with the death of someone.
Cultural grief– Being killed by police officers. Homophobia. Transphobia. Human trafficking. Internment camps. Incarceration rates. Sexism. Racism. Homelessness. Slavery. Climate change. Stealing land.
We can experience grief even when we pick something that makes us happy because we are losing the options that we didn’t pick. For example, sadness when moving in with someone who makes you very happy because it means you don’t get to be single again.
Even positive changes can cause us to feel a sense of grief and loss, such as a new job. Because they mean losing something that you had or did or knew or were.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” –Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
Stages of Grief
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross created a model of grief with 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. After her death, David Kessler was given permission to add a 6th stage: finding meaning.
Denial: It didn’t happen. It doesn’t feel real. It can’t possibly be real.
Anger: Fuck this. I’m so pissed they left me. It’s bullshit they died.
Bargaining: If I had called, this wouldn’t have happened. Could we have prevented it if we went to the doctor sooner?
Depression: I’m so sad. I cry all the time. I don’t want to do anything.
Acceptance: I still miss them sometimes. But I know they are really gone.
Finding Meaning: Their life was meaningful. I learned things from them. I am going to help the world be a better place so things like this don’t happen to other people.
Now, grief is not linear. You are not going to neatly finish denying things. Then be angry. Then bargain. And then nicely be done with the whole thing.
You may feel angry while bargaining. May feel depressed while denying. You may bounce around from stage to stage a million times in a day like a pinball.
You may not actively feel grief for months or years. Then you graduate college and suddenly it punches you in the gut. Or it’s a Tuesday and you’re suddenly crying on the kitchen floor because you miss them.
Grief is more complex when the person died by suicide. It’s more complex when the person you are grieving was also abusive to you.
Some people say it’s easier when they knew the death was coming. Other people say it’s easier when it’s sudden.
Some people say the first year after a death is worse. Others say the second year.
My favorite saying about grief is that we get through it, not over it. The best way to grieve is to feel your feelings. Whatever they are. Whenever they are. And we all do it differently.
Our society doesn’t teach people how to grieve. Especially not how to grieve while supporting other people who are also grieving.
Grief counseling in Colorado can help you learn how to cope with every stage of grief and not have to do it alone.
Online Grief Therapy in Colorado
Online grief and loss counseling is just as effective as in person grief and loss therapy. I still create a space where you can share your grief. Your struggles with believing it’s real. Being pissed off that it happened. Questioning what you could have done to prevent it. Feeling sad. And finding new meaning in your life. The times when you feel crazy cause your mood shifts 16 times a day. Or you feel angry and sad and accepting all at the same time. You don’t have to do it alone. And online therapy can make it more convenient, cheaper, and easier.
Serving the Denver Metro Area, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Boulder, Grand Junction, Greeley, Pueblo and the entire state with online therapy in Colorado. I do not see clients at my home-based office located in Bailey, CO.