The time after loss is volatile and confusing for most people. Unresolved issues and questions we have not answered must often be confronted. Along with a sense of abandonment and sorrow, anger often arises. Most have little understanding of what they are going through, or what to expect in the future. Facing the unknown can produce additional fear.
Yet crisis like chaos means opportunity. When the process of grief is handled properly, the suffering and symptoms that may appear later be well diminished. It is even possible for the individual to grow a great deal during this time and benefit from the experience.
The more we understand what we are going through, the less out of control we will feel. At a time like this we need meaning and direction.
The Dynamics of Loss and Grief
It helps greatly to realize that the pain we go through during grief is normal. It does not mean there is something wrong with us. We need not feel ashamed of or afraid of our feelings.
Each person reacts differently to loss and that is fine. Some feel abandoned, others feel betrayed and afraid. Some reach out for love and comfort, while others withdraw, wanting time alone. Some go into denial and seem not to register the loss that has happened. These individuals are often unconsciously processing what has happened, not ready to face reality yet. They may fear they will be overwhelmed if they allow themselves to register what has gone on. It is best not to pressure a person to react differently. When the individual is accepted for who they are at the moment, it is easier for them to let go, and move on. This entire process takes time.
What Happens When We Are Grieving
When we are grieving, interest in the outside world subsides, we slow down, our social activities seem less meaningful. This is not necessarily bad. An individual may need more time alone. In the process of grieving the individual is contemplating the nature of their lives, coming to terms with what they’ve lost. They may be reviewing that which was left undone.
Grief is usually most difficult with unresolved issues. When there have been unsolved conflicts left behind, this makes it harder to be at peace. Many spend time blaming themselves for what they did or didn’t do. Others blame doctors, helpers, government or family members. Casting blame is a way of removing the guilt and sorrow we feel. The sooner they are able to let go of blame and accusations, the sooner healing begins.
Let Go Of Blame
Blame, self hate and other forms of anger, are common during grief. Although it is important not to repress anger and disappointment, it is best to feel it and then let it go. Some individuals hold onto anger as a way of keeping connected to the person or situation they have lost. The truth is that anger always keeps us out of balance. It is a poison to the one who holds onto it.
Coming To Terms – Steps To Take
Ultimately one must reconcile oneself to what happened. Most people do all they can to avoid experiencing their feelings or situation directly. Many fear that if they face their suffering, it will make them feel small and helpless. Actually, the opposite is true. It’s best not to control or resist the feelings. When these feelings are not resisted, they simply come to awareness and then fade away.
Feelings that are repressed come out later in different ways, including various physical symptoms, phobias and unwanted behaviors. If we do not address our feelings in one mode, they will appear in another – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Hopefully, we come to a point where forgiveness can take place, (forgiveness of the person we’ve lost, forgiveness of ourselves, the universe, or whatever it is we feel anger with).