Suddenly there it was … an overwhelming loss
Recently you suffered an overwhelming loss that has a huge impact on you. It seems as if you have fallen into a deep hole, that your world stopped turning, that you are so stunned you don’t know what to do anymore.
Preferably you would want to put the clock back to the time, which might not be perfect, but in which you were happy. To the time you had the job of your life and didn’t realize that the company you worked for would eventually go bankrupt. Or perhaps to the time when that loved one was with you, who was always there for you, who always supported you, and gave you courage, who was the one your world revolved around, but who is deceased now. Or maybe to the time when you felt good and healthy and had no suspicion that you were seriously ill. After many intensive treatments the doctor informed you eventually that there wasn’t any other existing follow-up or trial treatment available for you to help.
The enormous emotional impact of the loss can raise questions like “does my life still makes sense” or “how do I proceed with my life from here” or “what is (still) the purpose of my life?” These questions will certainly not reduce the impact of the loss, on the contrary.
Your overwhelming loss and the ensuing grief and mourning can also be intensified by the opinions and attitudes of the people around you. People who, like you, are involved with the same loss but are trying to process this in a different way within their own realities. People who may not realize that everyone is mourning in their own way.
They are custom examples, or so you wish cases, which have happened to me and my family. When you happen to recognize yourself in one of these, I hope that this blog can help you.
It starts with the acceptance that what happened … did happen
Mourning or processing grief is a process that lasts as long as it takes, and which runs differently for everyone. Before the process of mourning can begin, however, you first must be able to acknowledge that this great loss that has happened is irreversible. That you accept that there is no way back because the company for which you worked is bankrupt or … that your loved one has died or … that your illness is terminal … and that what others think of your loss and your mourning is rather a mirror for themselves than that you have to do something with that.
Your acceptance of your loss does not mean that the processing of your grief is going “smoothly.” There may be times when at one point it seems you have accepted your loss while at a different moment it seems that it is not nearly the case. You may not even be aware of that but changing the acceptance of your loss from one moment to the next may generate the necessary additional emotions in you. Emotions that can translate into reactions in your body and also in your behaviour towards others. The same applies to the people in your immediate environment who are processing their grief too. It does not make it any easier.
And that was just the beginning. Yes, mourning requires a lot of energy. Jung said it back then, mourning, or processing your grief, is hard work.
Then come the questions, the life questions, on which answers are needed
Answers to life questions such as “does my life still make sense” or “how do I continue with my life” or “what is the purpose of my life” help in accepting the reality of the loss. In my blog I cannot give answers to such questions because the answers are influenced by who you are, by your background and culture, and how you were formed during your life.
“Mmmmm …” I can hear you think … “but how can I, as a reader, get answers to these, although basic, but for me personally … important questions?”
In my opinion, it is important that you do not end up in a negative energy spiral, because the longer it takes the harder it will be to reverse it again. But not everyone recognizes or acknowledges that to themselves.
It is also important to adopt a positive attitude, so that problems become opportunities, lessons become obstacles, and your worries are just a part of your life.
My point of view is also that people can change … you too can change … using your heart and all the unconditional love that is available in our universe.
Easy to say but doing and continuing to do so is quite something else. It takes a lot of energy and above all perseverance. But not everyone is willing to devote that.
How do you tackle that … dealing with loss?
It reliefs when you are distracted from that overwhelming loss. For example, you have children who need your care, time and attention. Or you have people in your immediate environment who depend on your help. Or you have a job. But not everyone has that.
It is easier when you do away old things. When you are open to other ideas, other signals, other observations. But not everyone can do that.
It reliefs when you start recognizing that your fear has to do with your thoughts that tell you that something is not possible, but that when you can think in opportunities and challenges you can develop further and create new opportunities. But not everyone wants that.
It helps when you dare to leave the trodden path, and while you struggle over the path that is unknown to you, you eventually discover a new path with new and more possibilities than you ever were able to dream about. Opportunities that become a new reality for you. But not everyone dares.
It reliefs when you ignore what others think you should do, but that you listen to what your heart tells you … that you listen to your feelings. But not everyone has the courage to do so.
To provide you with some support while processing an overwhelming loss, I can offer you some perspectives from my own experience.
When you at length go through your mourning with falling and getting up again, you discover at a certain moment that the raw grief you experienced in the beginning has changed into the soft pain of sorrow. That the pain has become a viable and essential part of you … it has made you who you are at that moment.
It may even be the case that you have changed so much that people around you wonder how that happened, while you wonder why you did not start the activities you are currently engaged in much earlier in your life.
In retrospect, you may consider that the great loss you have experienced was necessary to put you on the path of life you are currently walking on … that you can be proud of yourself on who you have become … on what you do now in and with your life. What another thinks of that is like a mirror for the other and not relevant to you.
In retrospect you may still vaguely remember any negative aspects and moments before and during that great grief, but later you remember mostly the beautiful things in your life. It gives freedom in your head, in your mind … it relieves.
Looking back in time…
An overwhelming loss just happened to you. At that moment you are in deep pain and don’t know what to do, but in the end, you get it resolved somehow. Be aware that it can often be a long and arduous journey, a journey in the unknown, with love and joy at the end of that journey. However, never again it will be the same as before … there will always be some pain left.
For that job of your life you’ve lost, eventually another occupation came in its place that gives much more satisfaction. For the loved one you lost and of whom you are missing the intimacy from human to human … maybe it even still hurts deeply … you are somehow still connected with the other from heart to heart. And because of that (terminal) disease you eventually learned to live and enjoy moment by moment.
Dear reader, I have learned to approach life in a positive way. That did not happen by itself. Two intense mourning processes contributed to this. It was hard work and there were times when I no longer knew how to continue in life or how I could find the answers to my life’s questions. But when someone asks me now, “if you would have the choice with the knowledge you possess now, to completely relive your life? What is your answer?” then I would answer wholeheartedly with … Yes!
I hope this blog is useful in helping you while processing your grief.