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Loss, Grief and Bereavement



Most people experience loss in life. For example, the loss of a loved one, a job, or health. A loss can be very devastating and immediate, for example through death and therefore loss of a person.


Grief is a human's response to a loss; it aims to process the loss. A mourning period requires people to adjust to the new situation. Grief can follow all forms of loss, but it is most evident after the loss of a loved one. 



When does a loss get processed?


The loss never ends. After years, you may still experience sadness, pain, or anger, especially on days when you are reminded of it. It is quite normal to still struggle with the loss after five years. Especially if you had a strong emotional connection with the deceased.


However, you can speak of processing in the sense that your emotions become less and less intense. It no longer hinders you in your daily life. You sleep well again. You feel strong enough, and you have fun in your life again. You can handle it well if you are sometimes reminded of your loved one. You can also let go of the sadness or anger. 

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What is bereavement?

Bereavement refers to the period when a person is in a state of sadness because a family member or friend has recently died. Grief and mourning happen during this period.


What do grief and mourning mean?


Grief is learning to understand step by step that your life has been radically changed by a meaningful loss. Grief, then, is a completely natural process. This natural process eventually leads to regaining emotional balance for the person who mourns. Grief is not a disease, it is the normal adaptation to a loss. You are faced with the task of adjusting your expectations, your present and your future, to the new situation in which the other person is forever gone. 


There are many ways to describe grief. You may fight to overcome the pain and sorrow. In the beginning, it feels like you are the pain and are completely absorbed in it. Over time, it turns into a pain that you are experiencing. Grief is slowly but surely understanding that your life has changed so dramatically because of a loss that you value very much. It is the realization that the loss is irreversible. You take grief with you everywhere you go.

What if the mourning doesn't pass?


Coping with grief and loss suggests that all loss can be dealt with, in other words, that there is an end to it. Just as if after "processing" you can leave it all behind. Perhaps this is true for some losses, but not for all. 'Experiencing' loss is a better word. That's what mourning is. 


You may experience the loss, the sadness and the pain for the rest of your life. 


If you accept that, which is not easy, living life will become easier, you will slowly feel better and see the bright side again. After a year, most people feel well enough to move on with their lives. 

Why and how do we mourn?


We mourn after a great loss. We process the loss. Most of the time, when we think about grief, we think of losing someone through death. But you can also grieve after another sort of loss. For instance, a loss of health due to illness, loss of a partner after a divorce, losing one's job or losing hope for a child (becoming pregnant).


Loss is drastic: it takes time to process it. How much time differs per person. Everyone processes grief in their own way. People often think and feel different things. 

One is primarily angry, the other sad. Yet another is relieved that a difficult period has passed. Maybe you have an empty feeling, maybe you feel different emotions all at once. Unquestionably, mourning is an intense and difficult time in the lives of many people. 



- What do you experience when you are grieving?


After a big loss you may feel many different things, for example:


  •  Disbelief. The loss is not yet comprehensible. You find it hard to believe and come to terms with it. 

  •  Sadness. You may be sad. Losing something or someone hurts - mentally, emotionally and physically. 

  •  Relief. You may feel relieved. It is normal to be relieved after, for example, your partner or parent has passed away if he or she was in a lot of pain or caring for them was very difficult. 

  •  Guilt. You may feel guilty. Perhaps you have done or said something, or the opposite and feel guilty about that. Very often people also feel guilty when they start to feel better after a while. 

  •  Anger. You can be angry after a loss. It doesn't feel fair what happened to you. You may be angry with someone else or angry with yourself.

  •  Loneliness, you may feel lonely. Many people feel alone and sometimes lonely after a loss. Especially if they have been with someone for a long time and they pass away. 

  •  Downheartedness, you may be gloomy. If you lose a partner, child, father or mother, you can feel the grief for years to come. It makes you sad; you are less interested in things. Even when the sadness subsides, there will still be times when you feel the sadness again. Experiencing sadness for a long time can turn into depression.



You may also notice that you are grieving physically, for example through:


    - Restlessness

    - Muscles feeling tense

    - Loss of appetite

    - Concentration problems

    - Headaches 

    - Tiredness

    - Trouble sleeping

    - The need to be active




Why is taking the time for bereavement important?


A consequence of grief is extremely raw pain. A pain that cannot be hidden. You can ignore it for a while, sometimes even for a very long time, but there comes a time when you have to do something about it. Grief cannot be set aside indefinitely. If you do this, you risk ending up getting burnout and the grieving process becomes even more difficult. 



Difficulty coping with loss 


Usually, grief slowly fades. How long it takes is different for everyone, but after a year most people feel better. Sometimes grief doesn't go away on its own. After a year it is still (almost) as bad as in the beginning. We call that "Complicated grief". 


This is how you recognize grief that does not go away:

  • The major loss experienced was at least a year ago.

  • The sadness and other conditions associated with mourning are just as bad as in the beginning.

  • You want to die and wish to be with the deceased.

  • Having difficulty trusting other people.

  • Life feels empty and meaningless. You don't care about anything. And you don't know what you can do to make it better.

  • Due to the physical, mental and emotional conditions, things do not work out properly, such as sleeping, eating, working or keeping your house clean. 



How can I deal with my grief?


  1. Grieving takes time and effort, give yourself the time. Some people need more time than others.

  2.  Don't be ashamed of your thoughts or feelings. For example, it is not strange to be relieved or very angry.

  3.  Reminders can help you come to terms with your loss. For example, look at photos or write down the memories you have of your loved one(s).

  4. Keep taking care of yourself.

  5.  Do not drink alcohol or use drugs to numb your emotions, you can become addicted to it.

  6. Do the things you normally did before the loss of your loved one.

  7. Exercise regularly, take up relaxing classes such as Yoga or meditation.

  8. Talk to someone you trust, it helps to talk about what you think and feel. Even if you don't feel like it or if you think others might not want to talk about it. The attention of close friends and family can help you cope. 


When should I seek help?


When you lose someone very important to you, it feels like everything in your life changes. The world looks different, nothing seems the same anymore. Your priorities shift: what seemed important at first often becomes less important or interesting. This is a shocking experience because it usually also means that you are no longer on the same wavelength as the people around you. You can see grief as a process of adapting yourself to a completely changed situation. That is not easy, it is a difficult task.


If you feel that you need professional help, you can talk to your primary care physician about it and we also offer services and provide you with the tools and tips to help you process grief. The goal of our sessions would be to help you reduce overwhelming sadness, give you more positive feelings and thoughts, ultimately helping you move on.  



What can we do for you?


At Luminous Transformational Coaching, we can help you deal with your grief. Give grief the attention it deserves. The ultimate goal of a grieving process is to deal with the raw pain. There is no timeline for mourning. Allow time and attention to the grieving process. Ignoring doesn't solve anything, do give it attention.


We would like to help you give attention to your grieving process. If you would like to know more or would like to make an appointment, please contact us. 


Are you or someone close to you dealing with (overwhelming) grief and do you need personal help or advice?

Reach out for your first discovery session of 30-minutes for free. 


Start your healing process today!

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