What is Grief?
Grief is a sometimes overwhelming emotion we experience when we go through a loss. It is a natural reaction that may come as a reaction to an individual or a universal experience. Everyone’s experience with grief will vary due to the nature of their loss, whether it comes from the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job or way of life, the loss of independence from an illness or disability, or more.
At Lighting the Way, our hope is to inspire others as they recover from loss in order to live a fuller life. Grief comes in many forms, and mourning is a very personal process that every person will experience differently. Our grief and loss counseling, using the methods of The Grief Recovery Institute, helps people focus on facing their specific emotions in their own unique situations.
Types of Loss
No matter what form it comes in, every person experiences their own loss in life. There are many types of loss, and every person will walk a different path as they move through their own grief. Here are some of the ways we may experience loss:
- Living Relationships
- Childhood Losses
- Helping Children With Loss
- Senior Citizen Loss
- Pet Loss
- Career Changes
The Five Stages of Grief
Generally, people talk about the five stages of grief. And while every loss and grieving situation will be unique, there are several aspects or stages of grief that most will experience. These stages do not come in the same order or form every time, but we will typically feel each of these emotions as we process through our grief.
For some, this can be the initial reaction to a loss. It can be hard to believe a person is gone, or a relationship or life season is over. At first, you may doubt the reality of what you have lost. This can sometimes be due to a feeling of unfinished business, and can also come from our shock at an unanticipated event. Denial can also be a defense mechanism that can carry you through the shocking first wave of grief.
Pain can often take the form of anger. It can be shocking to you or your loved ones, but anger is not an uncommon feeling during the grief process. Anger can also come in the form of bitterness, or perhaps even resentment. It is normal to feel anger towards the difficult situation or the person who was lost, or even towards yourself. Although anger is a difficult emotion to walk through, it can be helpful in your process of grief. Anger can help you connect with the world after a loss, and although not every person will experience this stage of grief, it can be part of the process.
Bargaining is a way to try and control something while your life is spinning out of control. In a time of deep pain, you may find yourself asking “what if” questions and saying “if only” statements. You might feel willing to do anything to go back to the way life was before a loss. This comes from a feeling of vulnerability and helplessness. Guilt can accompany this feeling, and could drive you to try to regain control. All of these feelings can be part of the process, and are normal after a loss.
This stage of grief can be a “quiet” one, but it is a normal and natural part of the process. Depression can look like intense sadness, confusion, fatigue, not feeling hungry or willing to get ready in the morning, and much more. You may also find yourself feeling isolated during this time, which can feel overwhelming. This is due to facing your current reality and processing the loss you have been through. Like all stages of grief, it can feel messy and disorienting. However, there are many resources to help you through the process and through a season of depression after loss.
Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean you have reached a happy stage, or that you are content after a loss. And depending on what you have been through, it is possible that there will never be a feeling of being okay with what happened. After experiencing a major life change, this may feel very different. You may find yourself more comfortable reaching out to others, or you could still prefer to have some space. Acceptance means coming to terms with what has happened, and understanding what it means in your life now.
What Grieving Can Look Like
Grief comes in many forms, and walking through the stages of grief looks different for everyone. There are individuals who will experience some, but not all of these five stages. For others, though they experience all five, they come in another order. You may be grieving the loss of someone or something for much longer than you or your loved ones expected, or you may find yourself processing faster than you thought you ever would. Whatever you are feeling, there are a number of coping strategies you can use to help as you navigate through your grief process.
Finding Your Way Back to the Light | Grief Recovery
If you are feeling stuck in your grief or unsure how to process and move forward, know there are people who can help you through. Coping strategies alone are not always enough, and meeting with a professional is a great type of support in grief recovery. Our grief counselor in Colorado Springs is trained in comprehensive grief recovery. The goal of counseling is to help people so they can move through grief in a healthy way and allow themselves to process their emotions in a healthy way. Schedule your session today, or book a class with us to start healing.