Throughout the course of our years, we all experience a loss at some point in our lives. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 5 children will experience the death of someone close to them before 18 years of age. Feelings of grief and loss are not always associated with death; but also commonly surface after a loss of some kind – whether it is the loss of a loved one through divorce or other ending of a relationship, pregnancy, pet, or a job.
When a person loses something or someone valuable to them, feelings of grief can be overwhelming. Grief can leave a person feeling sad, hopeless, isolated, irritable, and numb by affecting them mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s important to understand that healing from grief is a process and everyone copes with this emotion differently.
Many people don’t know what to say or do when a person is grieving, but just being present is the most powerful support you can offer. Be sure to have patience with the individual (including yourself) and allow the grief process to unfold at whatever pace is needed.
Grieving is a natural process, but can become more complicated by multiple factors. If your grief is difficult or prolonged, you may want to seek assistance from religious or spiritual counselors, grief support groups, or psychotherapy which may:
· Improve coping skills
· Reduce feelings of blame and guilt
· Explore and process emotions
Consider seeking professional support if feelings of grief do not ease over time.