When the word grief comes to mind, most of us automatically link it to the death of a loved one.
The loss of a loved one is obviously one of the most life-altering and painful events of one’s life, which explains why it is associated with loss, but it is not the only thing we can associate with grief.
In truth, we grieve for many other life-altering events that seem trivial when discussing death but they are life altering in their own right.
For instance, when two people divorce or separate from each other, the grieving process usually starts before the end of the relationship.
Anticipatory grief begins when it becomes apparent the relationship is ending and moves into acute grief when the relationship is severed.
For some, the loss of a relationship involves feelings of denial, fear, bitterness, depression and hopefully, in the end, acceptance. The process must play itself through before those involved are able to fully move forward.
The loss of our job is at the top of the list when we talk about life-altering events.
We may feel we have been treated unfairly, or harbour other negative feelings towards the events that lead to our leaving or being asked to leave.
We not only leave a paycheque but also important friends and relationships we may have developed over time – it is a time of unknowns.
Some of us consider our work mates extended family of sorts and we grieve the sudden loss of contact and connectedness. After all, we tend to spend more time in a day with co-workers than we do with loved ones.
As we age, we suffer other events that cause grief that may not be easily understood by those who are younger.
A senior who has not been able to renew their driver’s license may grieve their loss of independence.
There are other life-altering events such as the inability to live safely independently, the loss of mobility, the loss of hearing or sight.
It may not occur to some of those close to us that this is a grieving time as well as an adjustment period and they may feel perplexed or impatient with the one grieving.
Be gentle to those around you who are moving through change in their lives.
My mother has an old saying that we use often in our family, “Less said, best mended” and I think in a lot of situations, it is just right.
We sometimes try to make things better for our loved ones by offering well-meaning advice or suggestions but there are some things in life that we just have to work through and process ourselves.
Less said doesn’t mean less support, it just means that we will most likely save ourselves from giving those “pearls of wisdom” that the other isn’t ready to hear just yet, thus avoiding hurt or resentful feelings.
–Barbara Bleiler is an advertising representative for the Grand Forks Gazette and a certified funeral celebrant