Monday, February 8, 2016

What's your grief? The Pain of "Secondary Losses"

I always remember my cousin talking about the weeks following her mother's death: "Just when you are devastated and have every right to expect that the world will give you a break on everything but mourning, you have to deal with so much stuff."

"When we experience a death the grief associated with the loss itself is excruciating.  There are the obvious things we “expect” (though it is hard to describe anything with grief as expected).  In the immediate, the pain of the loss can be all consuming.  But in the weeks and months that follow there can be a sense that we are losing even more than just that person.  The world turns upside down and suddenly it feels like everything is changing or disappearing. This snowball effect stems from the fact that a death does not just create a single hole in one’s life.  Instead the loss can impact many areas of one’s life, creating multiple losses from that “primary loss”.  Though it is easy to think that our grief is solely the grief of losing the person we cared for so deeply, our grief is also the pain of the other losses that were a result of the death.  You will hear these losses referred to as “secondary losses”, not in the sense that their impact is secondary, but rather that they are a secondary result of the primary loss."

What's your grief?

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