An Incomplete List of Grief

When you think of grief, most likely death is first and foremost in your mind.  It is the most obvious and definitive loss experience equated to grief. Divorce may be the other life event that you think of. Yet, there are a multitude of other experiences that get overlooked as grief and loss events.

It bears repeating that this list is incomplete because there are countless life events that people have experienced that have caused them to grieve.  The other challenge is that this list may be perceived as being written in some type of hierarchy of loss; which is absolutely not the case. Grief is not measurable or quantified, based on what has been lost.

Death

  • Death of someone you loved such as a family member or friend.
  • Death of someone who you didn’t love.
  • Death of someone you have a significant connection with such as a celebrity.  Whether it is an actor, musician or other public figure, we can grieve their death, not because of your intimate relationship but because of how they made you feel.  Moved by their music, or the characters they portrayed or any other way you felt you were connected.
  • Death of a pet.  Pets impact our lives in countless positive ways and when they pass on, grief is a natural response to losing them and the companionship and connection.
  • Circumstances or cause of death can compound feelings of grief.

Divorce

  • Divorce and Break ups – Ending an intimate relationship is heartbreaking and can extend well beyond the couple and include children, family and friends etc.
  • End of or significant change of a relationship – friendships, relationship with a colleague, business partner, family member, etc.
  • Circumstances or cause of the break up can contribute to the loss’s complexity.

Pivotal Life Events

  • Marriage – Getting married is presumed as being the “happiest day of your life”, yet it’s not uncommon to have conflicting emotions around what you are embarking on.
  • Graduation – Grieving your graduation may seem counterintuitive when it’s cause for much celebration.  However, grief can be triggered because of the vast changes in familiarity of leaving the “normal” of school and entering the workforce.
  • End of addictions – Supporting an addiction is making room for the habit in your life and it has become an ingrained part of it.  Ending your relationship with the addiction is the epitome of “end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior”.
  • Major health changes – physical, mental and emotional health, and it may be either positive or negative.  This is not limited to your own health, but how the health of another affects you, your life, and your relationship.
  • Career Changes – Losing your job, changing your career, and entrepreneurship. Substantial changes can affect your lifestyle, your financial situation, and your relationship with yourself.
  • Retirement – Voluntary or involuntary retirement can bear similarity to grief as in career changes and can include feelings of loss of routine, fulfillment, purpose and a myriad of other ways.
    Financial changes – both positive and negative, yours and another’s financial challenges can perpetuate grief.
  • Legal Problems – Feelings of overwhelming stress and uncertainty about the legal process and the outcome can be very conflicting.
  • Moving – Whether you are moving locally, long distance or even globally, this can be another pivotal life event that may be stimulated by both positive and negative events and cause you to grieve.
  • Empty Nest – End of familiarity of having your children living at home can be a difficult transition and may have you feeling at a loss in your home.

World Events

Whether happening in your community, across or around the world. These are emotional events, wherever you are in the world.

  • Global Pandemic
  • War
  • Social Injustice
  • Natural Disasters
  • Political Unrest

Intangibles

Intangibles may be an underlying feeling in association with any of the loss events above, and they may be a primary feeling of loss.

  • Loss of normalcy,
  • Loss of purpose,
  • Loss of trust,
  • Loss of safety,
  • Loss of childhood,
  • Loss of faith,
  • Unfulfilled hopes, dreams, goals and expectations for your life.

Does this incomplete list resonate with you?

When relationships change significantly, unresolved emotions can be tucked away, which can make moving forward difficult.

Feelings around what you wanted more of, what you wanted to be better or different during the relationship with whomever or whatever has been lost.

Maybe you wanted them to have said or done something more of, or to have done things differently or done better than they did. Or perhaps you wish you had said or done something more, better or differently.

Grief is a part of life, but it doesn't have to be your life.

Sherry Trentini

And it’s not uncommon for people to have experienced multiple losses and not feel impeded; then another loss is experienced and the weight of all of them collectively is felt.

If you’re recognizing how grief has and is affecting you; and want to reconnect the parts of you and your life that grief has put on hold.

Let’s talk soon about that.

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