You are Not Alone: Grief and Loss


Grief effects every individual at some point in their life.  Grief can be puzzling in the sense that what has been lost, is never coming back. A type of grief that is often forgotten about is the grief that is experienced due to an ambiguous loss.  An example of ambiguous loss includes: the loss of a job, a child moving to a new school, the loss of a family member overseas whose body was never found, or a relationship break up.

All kinds of grief intensify other emotions within in our lives. For example you may cry out of no where, or withdraw from activities and experiences that used to bring you happiness. Everyone is unique, and that means that the way they will be able to heal from grief will vary greatly. I encourage you to read the following tips for working with grief in your life:

1. Avoid hasty decisions.  Give yourself time to adjust to this change without making major decisions without thought.  For example, do not sell your house, or move out of the country.  The beginning stages of grief tend to feel like a fog and making big decisions may not turn out the way you think they will.

2. Get out of the house.  Stay involved with activities away from the home.  You might not want to leave the house but being around people and socializing is not only beneficial for you, but it can keep help strengthen relationships, which also allows for grief to flow through naturally.

3. Exercise.  Exercise is a great way to feel good about yourself, it reminds us of the life in our bodies and the blood that flows.  You could join the local YMCA or just go for a walk with a friend. Exercising releases endorphins in your brain which triggers a feel good sensation.

4. Check your progress.  Take time every few months to see how far you have come. Each person’s timetable for grief is different so don’t compare yourself to others.  Take the time you need to grieve.

It is important to reach for help if you need it.  Help can come in many various forms including: family, friends, pastors, therapists, support groups etc. If you are not ready to discuss the issue with someone, maybe consider keeping a journal, and prayer. Writing is an excellent way to express yourself without having to worry about censoring exactly how you feel.  Whatever comes to mind, write it down.

Remember is that the way grief is experienced is unique to each person. Just because your friend was able to move on from the loss of her sister within 6 months, doesn’t mean that you can do the same. Each person grieves differently, yet everyone will experience set backs at some point along the process. I encourage you to discuss your feelings with those around you, avoiding them won’t help you in the long run. Lastly, never be afraid to ask for help.

Pauline Boss coined the term ambiguous loss and if your interested in learning more about this, you can follow this link:

Blessings to your day from Footnotes: Family Counseling Services! To learn more about managing your grief and loss please call to set up an appointment at 507.351.8799.



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