As certain as we are human, it is certain we will all encounter loss and grief. Loss is experienced by many things. It may come from loss of job, relationship, health, and of course loss through death. We may also experience loss of something that has been craved and never had or loss of a time of life or aspect of self. There are many things that can be lost, some tangible and some not.
Associated with loss is grief. Grief brings tumultuous feelings that can include great sadness, anger, numbness, feeling lost and alone and even feelings that can not be described by words. Grief is like a storm whose fierceness can not be predicted. Following loss, someone may be fine one moment and overcome with distress the next.
As a culture we do not deal with loss and grief well. After a loss other people may acknowledge it and give their condolences and then never mention it again. It leaves the grieving person feeling that much more alone.
Since some gay, lesbian and transgender people do not live openly or do not enjoy the support of family, friends and co-workers, losing a partner can be particularly difficult. When a grieving person can not share their loss with others, the suffering can be severe.
Almost more than any other emotion, grief has its own natural course. It is similar to a large wave at the beach. It may come in and hit just as someone struggles to stand and walk ashore. As it hits, the force knocks the person under the water. It is usually futile to fight the wave’s strength. It only creates panic as the wave overpowers its victim. But if that person allows the wave its moment and trusts the wave will lessen its grip, it inevitable does. Grief hurts and grief does let go.
Grief is the process that cleanses and eventually allows the new. If the loss has been of something or someone cherished and loved, grief’s fire blazes the beloved in the heart forever.
Life does not go forth as “normal” for a grieving heart. It requires great self care, time and gentleness for healing. Support is essential through this time. Loving friends and family can help tremendously.
Some people may need help to move through a loss. Loss will dredge up other losses which is why people sometimes need the help of a therapist to work through old losses that come up with the present one. Loss can do damage to self esteem and can quickly change a person’s life. Some people may find that the power of the emotion associated with grief difficult to manage. Therapy can help a person trust that the wave will let go and help the person ashore. A good psychotherapist can help a person make sense of what seems impossible to understand and find new directions for healing. Loss and grief are part of life, and then again, so is healing.