By Hollie Warnick
Everyone experiences a loss at some point in their life. It can strike at any time. The pain of loss includes not only a person’s physical death, but the death of a friendship/marriage, an idea, a job, or even loss of material items – like the home or finances. Dealing with the fallout of these potentially life altering losses can leave us bewildered or absolutely lost ourselves.
This is when grief settles in. The universal stages of mourning are denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Throughout the process, we move in and out of these stages, multiple times, and in any order. If you are in this very personal process, it helps to know there is no time limit or “right” way to do it.
Denial: Our first defense is to deny the reality or facts of the painful event/loss. This rationalization blocks and buffers the instantaneous shock and waves of pain. Denial is only a temporary solution to crushing emotions that threaten to stop us in our tracks.
Anger: In the recess of denial, pain resurfaces with the reality of what happened. Because we are unprepared, this intense experience is ricocheted out as anger. This resentment can be directed at ourselves, those close, or our higher power.
Depression: Inspiration minus expression equals depression. We are inspired to express emotions from loss/pain that cleanse us. When we suppress them, they turn on us and become despair and hopelessness, described as depression.
Bargaining: “If only. . . then. . . ,” fill in the blanks. When we feel powerless and vulnerable, we want to reclaim control. We bargain with ourselves or others to prevent the loss from ever having happened. We try to make deals that re-write the past.
Acceptance: Resistance to the experience of loss prolongs the process of healing. Allow your singular encounter with grief to ebb and flow as it will. Allow yourself to feel. Peace and calm will come with time.
Keep a journal and tissues nearby. Diffuse a pleasant scent; grab a favored crystal or book for comfort; enjoy peaceful music; get outdoors.
If you’re suffering from loss and pain, please reach out. Seek support with loved ones or a professional. Hollie Warnick is available for grief counseling.