Grief is a deep, emotional reaction to loss, particularly to the death of a loved one. Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the death of a loved one, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, losses resulting from a natural disaster, illness or disability. Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss or change of any kind. While we usually think of grief as experiencing extreme sadness, sometimes people feel numb, relief (that their loved one is no longer suffering), anger, disbelief, regret, confusion, and emptiness. There is no right way to experience grief and the process is not the same for everyone nor is the length of mourning.
Grief reactions can often occur during individual therapy when someone delves into their family of the origin story and uncover situations that had a big impact on one’s life i.e., divorce, moving around often, child abuse, or domestic violence, alcoholism, whereby a person has to reconcile the family they had with the family they always hoped for & dreamed of. Sometimes the grief process was interrupted or suppressed, but the effects still linger and are unresolved.
Adolescence is perhaps one of the most difficult and confusing stages in life. It is a time of change and with every change, comes a grieving process. For example, divorce in a family often brings about a grieving process as the family as they knew it no longer exists. The absence of a parent creates a void and a daily reminder that these changes bring many new adjustments. The teen who has a brother or sister move out of the house to attend college or get married will have to adjust to family life without their sibling. Meals and family functions will not be spent together with the same frequency.
The dating process, a very natural process in adolescence, also involves grief as relationships build and then dissolve. The developmental stage involves the process of forming one’s identity as teens discover who they are and what they want in life. Children and teens can mourn the loss of their innocence and childhood pursuits.
Children and teens are now experiencing grief over the impact of the pandemic. They feel uncertain about when school will resume, anxious about friendships due to decreased contact, loss of normal school activities and sports, and the fear that their loved ones could be infected. The fact that the future is unknown creates a lot of insecurity, which represents another loss.
The death of a beloved pet can bring about profound grief in many children and adults alike. A pet is one of the few sources of unconditional love that life affords us. We can tell a pet our secrets, and in most cases, the pet is happy to see us at the end of a busy day!
If you or someone you know has experienced a sudden change or death of a loved one, individual therapy can assist you during this difficult period in your life.