What is Grief and Loss?

Debbie Edge

Grief and loss can look like many different things.  It includes grief that occurs as a result of a death, such as a child, spouse, parent, grandparent, sibling, other family members, friends, co-worker, etc.  For the past few years there have been more than 2,500,000 deaths each year, each affecting 8-10 families (Scalise, 2015, pg.17), which is a huge portion of our population.  Grief and loss are also experienced as a result of a divorce, natural disaster, a crime, retirement, domestic violence, suicide, loss of a job or income, loss of a home, loss of a dream, addictions, loss of health, miscarriage or stillbirth, inability to have a child, leaving a job or military.  Whether those are your losses or someone close to you, there is a significant amount of grief to navigate through.

 

At first there are so many emotions, such as being in a fog or numb, feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, anger, fear, guilt, an inability to think or concentrate and sometimes, feeling like God isn’t there. Those emotions can result in depression, anxiety, flashbacks or nightmares, insomnia, physical or health problems, fatigue, avoidance, and a long list of many more!  I have heard it described as a tsunami, a roller coaster ride, or a ball of yarn unraveling.  Those emotions will gradually get better, but it is important to realize that they are normal responses to grief and loss.

 

“The degree of loss can be assessed on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being very severe, by looking at how long the pain has continued, how many different losses that person has experienced, and how often there are symptoms. Counseling by a mental health professional may be appropriate if the severity is rated at 6 or above or if there are pre-existing issues, such as depression, substance abuse, suicide or homicide.”  (Bain, 2015, page 3) Never be afraid to seek  professional help from a counselor, pastor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or your medical doctor. 

 

Why is it important to understand grief and loss?  It is important so that people can understand the normal process of grief; not give up; not get stuck in it; and find the activities, resources, scripture, and support that will help them move forward.   Sometimes the greatest help comes from those who have walked a similar journey.  The feeling that you are not alone and that others have gotten through it and have found happiness and contentment in “the new normal” can be very encouraging.  That is the purpose behind the articles you will find here.  As you read through what everyday people have shared, my prayer is that you will learn more about the journey, find support, and most of all be pointed toward God, who will walk with you each step of the way. 

 

References:

 

Bain, D.  (2015). Introduction to Grief Coaching.  Lecture at Light University On-Line. Forest, VA

 

Scalice, E. (2015).  A Theory of Grief and Loss.  Lecture at Light University on-Line. Forest, VA