Grief is a normal reaction to a challenging time in one’s life. While grief is most often associated with bereavement and being the survivor of someone who dies (lost loved one or pet), grief can also be triggered by a change in life circumstances such as a promotion/job loss, marital status, birth of a child or retirement.
We often forget that life transitions can be both a source of excitement and of grief. Individuals will often be surprised by the fact that while they had looked forward to a change in their life, they might not have anticipated the feelings of loss that come with the transition. Even when one plans for a joyful change such as the birth of a child, a wedding or retirement, there can be a grieving period. This grief is connected to the changes in routine, change is role and identity and letting go of a way of being. There are trade-offs to be made when a change occurs in our life. It may take a period to become comfortable with the new reality.
Regardless of the source of the grief, people need to come together during times of grief. Joining a support group will break isolation, normalize and validate reactions and feelings. People feel less alone when they see others experiencing similar challenges.
Even when you think that you’ll never bounce back, it eventually happens. It’s unbelievable how resilient the human spirit is. Once one is over the surprise of the loss, we start asking questions about how to move forward and get on with life. That is the next phase of grieving; rebuilding. In the rebuilding phase, answers may not come pouring in. Give yourself the time to ponder on the future.
Here are some valuable questions for the rebuilding phase:
1. What do I need to do at this time to honour how I feel?
2. What is important for me to attend to at this time?
3. What are the possibilities in front of me right now?
4. What small choices are available to me at this time to regain a sense of control over this period of change?