What is Grief?
What is grief exactly?
The Oxford Dictionary defines it as:
“Deep sorrow, especially when caused by someone’s death.”
Grief is a natural response to loss when one feels the emotional suffering from the absence of a person or thing. It can be a reaction to any loss. The grief associated with death is familiar to most people, but we grieve from a variety of losses throughout our lives, such as unemployment, ill health or the end of a relationship.
A loss can be either physical or abstract, the physical loss is related to something that we can touch or measure, such as losing a spouse through death, while other types of loss are abstract, and relate to aspects of a person’s social interactions such as the loss of a job.
We grieve when we have lost someone whom we have loved deeply or with whom a strong bond was formed. Another term we use is bereavement. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary:
“The state or fact of being bereaved or deprived of something or someone : the state or fact of being bereaved; especially : the loss of a loved one by death.”
While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss.
So who in life has not experienced some type of grief? I certainly have and you probably have too since you are reading this.
My most tragic encounter was the suicide of my former husband in 2005. I fell into a state of shock and thought I would never recover. If you have felt the same don’t worry. It is normal; it is grief.
A loss from suicidal death can cause complicated grief for many. It is prolonged and the person doesn’t see any possibility of happiness in their future.
In addition suicide survivors must deal with the stigma associated with suicide. There are many people who believe that those who take their own life have committed a cardinal sin and will never be reconciled to God. I struggled with that idea and had to re-evaluate my own religious beliefs. I no longer believe that today! My God is one who loves Steve and all those who have died by suicide just as he loves the rest of us! I don’t believe in a punishing God.
Steve’s death by suicide made me fear what others thought about me. If Steve died from an illness or accident, I don’t believe I would have those same feelings. Did others think I was a bad wife or we had a bad marriage? Have you had similar thoughts?
What does Grief do to you?
It can make you think that you are crazy. My mind didn’t think the way it once did. As a systems analyst my job was highly analytic and I needed a clear mind to function properly. The trauma of finding Steve dead constantly preoccupied me, therefore I was in no condition to return to work for several months.
Grief can make you lose all hope in yourself and humanity.
You may become distrustful. I had faith in Steve and believed that he would never do anything to harm himself. I believed he loved me and would always protect me. After he died how could I trust anyone?
You may think that your life isn’t worth living. I wanted to end my torment and join Steve and contemplated ending my life. This was not because I was suicidal or mentally ill, it was because I suffered from complicated grief. Thankfully, I realized I needed help and set out to get it.
I didn’t let grief win. Instead I allowed myself to grieve. I learned how to understand my thoughts and feelings and I let grief become my greatest teacher.
My journey has transformed me in ways I never imagined and because of it I have a chance to help others.
Fill out a needs assessment form and request a free 20 minute consultation with me here.
Take my hand. Walk with me. I am here to help. Do not deny me -- I am grief. (Robin Chodak) #recovery #loss Click To Tweet