This is the last in a four-part series about programs that offer support for grief. In the first part, we discussed the difference between support-based programs and recovery-based groups, with the bottom line being that both are valuable but have different benefits for grieving people.
The second in the series highlighted the uniqueness of all relationships and pointed out that even though there may be parallels among grieving people, no two grief experiences are ever the same.
In the third part, we talked about the national and international tragedies that grab our attention, tear at our hearts, and remind us that we must cherish every moment we have.
Support for Grief—Defining Loss as Change
Since death and divorce receive so much support and attention, the impact of many other losses is often overlooked. Today we’re going to shift our focus from death and divorce, to some of the 40 other life events that can produce feelings of grief.
The definition of grief from The Grief Recovery Handbook explains what constitutes a loss: “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”
The key word in the definition is “change.” With that in mind, when we tell you that one of the most hidden losses is moving, you now have a frame of reference about why it can be so emotionally affecting. Even moving from a small house to a larger one, or to a better neighborhood, doesn’t override the emotions caused by the end or change in what has been familiar for you.
Another major loss that people are usually unaware of is the result of what most people think would be a positive and happy experience—winning a major lottery.
Yes, winning the lottery has destroyed many lives. Why? Just think about our definition of grief. When you win the lottery, everything familiar to you changes, not only how others see you, but how you perceive yourself. It is our inability to deal with change that can most affect us.
Grief, as we define it, is about dealing effectively with the inevitable changes that affect our lives. The ultimate support for grief is the by-product of learning what grief is and isn’t and learning that recovery is possible. There are many resources for recovery at www.griefrecoverymethod.com, including a Grief Recovery Specialist finder that can help you locate help in your community.
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