Loss is the price of living: “Extraordinary rent that must be paid while you stay”.(Annie Dillard)
As long as we live, we have to lose something. Our childhood, each passing age, the people we love, sometimes the things we love… The journey of life offers us a way of loss and from which we cannot escape. The most painful of these losses is undoubtedly death. Death is actually the only reality we know from the moment we are born. However, this is the only fact that does not bring any doubt, and it is an end that we try to ignore and have difficulty accepting. As long as we live, we are doomed to lose. What matters is our response to losses. Losses can be a means of acceptance and growth that will enable us to develop, and they can also drag us into a lifelong grief.
Death is the most tangible and most painful of losses. When we lose a loved one, we unconsciously add to the law our unfinished issues, our hasty separations. Every loss triggers all the losses that we have lost before but that we cannot fully digest. Grief is not just a reaction to death. We also grieve over any loss or change in our lives. The severity of the grieving process varies according to the importance of the person, thing or life we lost or separated from for us. What is lost can be our child leaving home, losing a loved one, retiring, getting divorced, changing jobs, or even getting a promotion. Each of them contains the grieving process.
While mourning describes a process we experience in the face of all our losses in life, the mourning that occurs with the death of the people who are most emotionally invested is one of the most difficult processes. The grieving process is as personal as our fingerprints. Our past loss stories and relationships are determined by traits. Even within the same family, everyone’s grief is deeply personal. The course of mourning depends on the preparedness for the loss, the characteristics of the bereaved, the psychological strength of the mourner, and the capacity to grieve.
The ability to do the work of grief depends on our developmental history. From the day we are born, we grow by leaving things. The baby agrees to let go of the mother’s breast to drink the milk from the cup. When he starts walking, he loses the safety of being carried on the lap. If these transitions occur in a safe environment, the child develops well and is more likely to become an adult with a psychological model for grieving. Healthy breakups are built on top of each other. Without healthy separations, the grieving process progresses very slowly. In order to make peace with the present loss, we are compelled to come to terms with our unfulfilled losses in the past.
If a person’s early interactions are generally continuous, reassuring, and loving, then there are reservoirs to turn to for change. Throughout life, our ability to quit is directly linked to our readiness to take the next step, the safety of the environment, the support of those around us, and our past quit record.
If we think of life as the construction of a large building, when the childhood years, when the foundation of the building was laid, passed soundly, a damage to the upper floors can be compensated more easily over time. However, if there is any rot in the foundation, it is likely that the building will collapse at the slightest damage. The possibility of experiencing the grieving process in a healthy way is directly related to the separation and individualization phases of childhood in a healthy way and to ensuring a secure attachment.
There are two phases of grieving. The first is crisis grief that begins at the moment of loss or the threat of loss (a fatal illness). Our bodies and minds resist. We move in and out of denial, division, bargaining, boredom and anger to avoid facing death. As you assimilate the bitter truth, the crisis period ends. Many assume that grieving ends with acknowledgment of death. In fact, the second phase of grieving is just beginning. But once we accept the reality of death, we can begin the subtle and complex work of reconciliation to turn the relationship into a memory that will no longer bother us.
The three basic points necessary for our understanding of grief are:
1. Every loss drags us into an inescapable grief.
2.Every loss revives all past losses.
3. Every loss, if fully mourned, can be a vehicle for growth and renewal.
Even though many years have passed over a mourning process that has not been held, postponed or covered over, affecting our daily life too much than expected can also cause intense depression. If the grieving process has become chronic and affects the daily life process of the person even though it has been a long time, getting support from a specialist will help the grieving process to be experienced in a healthy way.