Loss, Transition & Change
To Travel through the unknown to get to a place of Certainty.
Loss throws you into a place of uncertainty, even if the loss is anticipated or planned.
The experience of loss signals a time of re-evaluation. The recent loss whether the loss of a loved one; (animal being or human being) creates a void and a disrupt of our routine, patterns and focus.
Sometimes this loss is a situational loss. A long-standing job, career,someone moves away, is sick; or we are in the midst of a divorce or separation.
Whether the loss is from a loved one, a situation, way of viewing ourselves, a role/title we now have to restructure and reorganize our life, way of being and relating without what we have lost.
We are missing a part of us…. An important part of our life is missing; and
this leaves a gap we will need to fill with….We don’t know what yet. This does not replace what is missing or is lost; especially in the case of the loss of a loved one.
They now will be with us in other ways—non physical. And, we will now have to learn how to feel them with us non-physically.
Whatever the loss we need to give ourselves time….Time to create wholeness, to piece ourselves and life back together in a new way. And, this may feel odd, frustrating and useless in the beginning.
We will and do heal. We heal by taking the time to focus on the loss and bring the meaning of the loss into the present with us. There is no time limit on healing. It takes as long as it takes. (if we can not get out of bed 6 mos. on we need further help to deal with the loss) We need to nurture this new way of dealing with life, this new way of being and relating without our loved one. We need support at this time. Support is crucial, even if you don’t think it is necessary or helping….It is.
Most importantly is allowing the time to grieve, to reminisce, to reflect, to allow a healthy expression of all your emotions and feelings. If others well intentioned are hurrying you along in your process this is not healthy. Find those that can listen, can just be present to your situation and experience without trying to “fix” or hurry you along. One needs to express emotions at this time to get to core feelings. Remember all feelings are valid and ok. They are simply feelings and need to be expressed, acknowledged in a place of honor and safety.
The loss brings one deeper to oneself, an unveiling and revealing takes place.
There is always a reason even though it doesn’t make sense and in earthly reasoning and sense is senseless; or perhaps before one’s time.
Through the loss we will come to see ourselves in a new light, and we may even feel the strength and meaning of the life before the loss if we bring it’s meaning forward in the present.
The loss and what it means needs to be expressed.
Some ways of expressing are:
Writing- It helps to write about the loss, not necessarily literally,
but what it invokes in you.
Collage the person’s life
Collage what you are feeling and experiencing because of the loss
Reading books on the loss
A pictorial memorial
A chronically your experience and understanding of this loss.
Write a poem about you-where you are now
Write a poem about the process and state you are in from the loss.
Use your heart, mind, spirit to channel the energy of the loss in a way that feels satisfying to you.
Journaling and telling our story is powerful for us. It allows our emotions to be revealed, expressed and transformed. To tell “our story” our path and process is giving honor to what we have experienced. It also marks it in time in a way that we can reflect back on the loss and transition. Many times loss happens quickly or in a way that we are in a heightened coping state and we are not aware of how we are being affected in the moments of the process.
Usually, through the experience of transition, whether it be the transition from seeing a loved one fading through illness, or the unexpected loss of imminent death we are thrown into “coping mode” very often having to mask our feelings, or prioritizing them in a way that the transition and loss process takes key precedence over our feelings, needs and wants. This is even more prevalent with care givers of those sick or in the death (crossing over) process.
The author and professor Robert Neimeyer provides detailed descriptions of the use of expression & artforms in his Book - Lessons of Loss: A Guide to Coping by Robert A Neimeye
Among them are:
• writing a biography of the deceased
• drawing and painting
• writing an epitaph of the deceased
• keeping a journal of the thoughts and feelings
• examining how we are like the deceased (also known as a life imprint)
• integrating objects that link us to the deceased into our lives
• writing about the loss as if you are a third person describing it
• constructing a memory book honoring the deceased
• using metaphors to describe the loss and your reactions to it
• expanding the metaphors into a metaphoric story
• going on a personal pilgrimage
• creating a photo gallery
• writing a poem of the loss
• reading about others’ experiences with loss such as C.S. Lewis’
A Grief Observed
• creating and conducting a personal ritual about the loss
Create a Descansos- (The word “Descanso” is a Spanish word that means place of rest) How can you create a commemoration that allows a place to rest for the loved one you have lost, or the situation that is no more in your life.
In my heritage (Hispanic) we use the descanso to bring meaning, honor, sacredness and clarity to the loss of the loved one. I have updated this use to use for a loved one, situational loss, or transition. It is a powerful tool and one that honors your life, life experience, situation or the loved one that is no longer on this earth plane.
A Descanso allows you to honor, commemorate, celebrate and let go to connect in a new way that is relevant for you in the present. You see descansos on the side of the road of an accident, for instance, to signal to those that pass that a death has occurred here. A Descanso allows you to acknowledge the loss, the transtion and the new way of managing the loss in your mind and life.
It is truly a way of honoring the deceased or what has been lost. The descanso is done in whatever way or manner is pertinent to you. Design it, write it in a way that reflects your personal beliefs, imagery that is significant to you, that is sacred to you.
• writing one or more letters to the deceased expressing what you were not able to express while he/she were alive (without sending them).
Artists and non-artists have also used painting, sculpture, photography, music, and other expressive means to help them find meaning in their loss. If the task becomes too difficult, a trained counselor can be of invaluable help during this time of exploration.