Humans automatically develop emotional bonds with many people and things. Loved ones, friends, beloved homes, locales, possessions, pets, etc., come to, almost literally, hold "a place in our heart." When we lose the beloved person or thing to death or any other reason, the loss is real. Humans are designed to feel pain at such a loss. This pain is called grief, and, like any pain, grief is distinctly unpleasant. This tempts many grievers to avoid, ignore, deny, or prematurely choke off their pain, fearing that the pain will otherwise last forever and rule their lives.
Fortunately, psychological research has shown that grief is, in most cases, naturally self-limiting. It is generally advisable for anyone who has lost a loved one (or thing) to allow themselves to feel the pain. Their tears are, in fact, beautiful evidence of the preciousness of the lost one, and efforts to “be strong” are usually counterproductive. In the first days after a loved one dies, very severe emotional pain is normal; yet, even when the loss is enormous, the pain eventually, gradually, naturally subsides. The length of the process, which ends with the griever having a continuing but changed relationship with the lost person or thing, varies by situation. For example, grief over a beloved parent, spouse, or child often takes 2-4 years to resolve. While we continue to miss the lost person or thing, one's self esteem and general functioning remain intact.
Every case of grief is different, and there are many forms of “normal.” I have been helping clients understand their particular grief situation and find their own healthy approach to this challenging transition in life for over 30 years. If someone you know is struggling unsuccessfully with a loss, I’d like to help. Please have them call me.
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.
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