01 Oct More Lessons of Loss
The experience of loss is unique to different individuals. Who we are means that we will grieve differently. New approaches to grief recognize that the process is not isolated from our social world. Bereavement shakes our organized world. Through our conversations we try to help people to make sense of their loss and put some order back in their lives. Our service has been of great benefit to many who have experienced loss by providing people with the opportunity to express their emotions, both positive and negative, share their stories and reconstruct the meaning of their loss. As they reconstruct their own identity and adapt and accommodate to their world beyond loss, we often witness incredible growth, transformations and benefits following loss.
We work with people to assist them in interpreting the subjective meaning of their situation and help people to make sense of their loss. The relationship of the loss of a parent, spouse, child, sibling or friend may create differences in the meanings ascribed to the loss. For instance it has been said that the loss of a parent is the loss of the past, the loss of a spouse is the loss of the present and the loss of a child is the loss of the future. The loss of a sibling encompasses the past, present, and future.
We also know that there is no set time limit on the process of grieving. Newer views challenge the notion of stages. The process of grief sees intense grief work occurring at times and then periods of restorative work emerging with peaks and valleys in the overall picture. Maintaining ties to the relationship with the person who has died is now viewed as normal and this is often validated and acknowledged as such in our conversations. Rituals, symbols and traditions that honour the memory of the person are encouraged in our work with bereaved family members. There are many ways to maintain the relationship with the person who has died and feel a sense of connectedness. After losing her husband, one woman we know spent her husband’s first birthday without him at his favourite restaurant, wearing his favourite hat and reading his favourite book as a way to honour and remember him. Have you ever noticed that wearing a piece of jewelry that belonged to someone close to you helps you to feel that connection? We often hear of symbols that represent the person that has died, like one woman who believed that every time she saw a cardinal, it represented her late husband. What are some of the ways that you have remembered people in your life who are no longer alive?