What is your grief?
“One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one
It's the loneliest number since the number one
No is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes, it's the saddest experience you'll ever know
'Cause one is the loneliest number that you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number, whoa-oh, worse than two
It's just no good anymore since you went away
Now I spend my time just making rhymes of yesterday
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do”
These are the lyrics to a song by the rock band Three Dog Night. While the verses were initially meant for a relationship break up, it made me think about loss. Lonely is the feeling of sadness of not having someone around. Alone is not physically having someone with you.
As loss travelers, we can experience both. Too often after the dust has settled, the estate is distributed, our loved one laid to rest, and friends and family have gone back to their lives we wind up feeling lonely and alone.
It will help to understand what grief is and the different types of grief in dealing with loneliness and being alone.
Grief is a strong feeling and sense of sadness or melancholy often caused by the death of someone close to you, the loss of something that helped form your identity (a job, a relationship, a home), or a wide variety of other things. I understand your pain. Grief is terrible. It can destroy your life. It can rip away your hopes and dreams. It can stop you in your tracks.
Understanding where I have been in my loss has helped me in my healing. In the descriptions that follow, look for yourself. You may have characteristics of several types of grief. You may cycle in and out of them. Identify the one that is the strongest, where you spend the majority of your time.
Here are the different types of grief. Reflect on them. See where you are.
Normal grief usually lasts 7 – 24 months. However, this is an average and everyone’s circumstances are unique.
Anticipatory grief is feeling the loss prior to someone’s passing. This usually occurs in cases of cancer and mental health. The dying process is prolonged with fear and anxiety being high.
Delayed grief is suppressed grief until it is triggered by another form of loss, either life, divorce, job etc.
Complicated grief is the inability to accept a loved one passing which is accompanied by prolonged grief. Typically, folks who are experiencing complicated grief shut themselves off from friends or family, losing additional relationships and making it difficult to recover based on isolation, loneliness and paralysis.
Disenfranchised grief is when there is a lack of societal support such as the loss of a fur baby. It can also apply to those who grief over celebrities.
Chronic grief is when the severity of grief does not reduce over time. It is at the same level years later as when the loss first occurred.
Distorted grief is being angry at the world with the possibility of doing harm to others or oneself.
Cumulative grief is adding one loss on top of another. You may feel like you are doing well but then another loss is piled on and you don’t know how to handle it.
Prolonged grief impacts normal functioning and can be responsible for medical and mental health issues. The loss traveler frequently ties their self-worth and identity to the one who has passed. They may have lost all desire to move through their loss.
Exaggerated grief is magnified grief through actions and words. It can ultimately cause serious mental health issues for the loss traveler.
Masked grief is when a person denies that there is any loss therefore no reason to grieve.
Traumatic grief is when the loss occurs suddenly and usually violently
Collective grief is when a community comes together in loss. This can be natural disaster or terrorists or acts of violence.
Inhibited grief is when someone is grieving but not to the level of the relationship. For example, when two siblings are close and one passes, the surviving one does not grieve.
Abbreviated grief is when someone moves through their grief quickly based on the expectations of those around them. Too often, loss travelers are told to move on and get over it. The person grieving then responds accordingly and never fully grieves.
Absent grief is no grief at all. This frequently applies in the aftermath of anticipatory grief. There has already been a good deal of grieving and they find it is not necessary to further grieve.
I am about to get real. Take an honest look at yourself. What type of grief are you experiencing?
We all deal with grief in our own way. Has your grief impacted your quality of life, ability to work or function on a day to day basis? Have you lost all hope? Are you a shell of who you once were? Your loved one would not like to see you this way. Take a few minutes to reflect on what your life will look like in one year, five years and even ten years. Are you stuck in the same place or have you been able to move forward?
I understand your pain and heart ache. This is not an easy journey. For those of you who seek happiness or want to make a change, I offer a coaching program that helps parents find peace and joy again. I personally found them after the loss of two children, both parents, my sister and cousins.
If you are ready to understand your grief, schedule an appointment with me today: https://calendly.com/peggy_grief_recovery/lets-get-to-know-each-other
Peggy Green is a has experienced the grief of losing many loved ones including two of her children. Walking through grief caused her to seek out ways to heal her own grief and then share those steps with others. Her mission is to bring hope to mothers who are grieving the loss of a child and support to those who feel they can't find hope for the future.
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