Examples of Losses

IMPORTANT PERSON-CLOSE OR MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIP

  • Death, Suicide, Military losses
  • Separation, Divorce, Estrangement, Desertion, Rejection, Abandonment
  • Abortion, Stillbirth, Miscarriage
  • Pets
  • Illness, Geographic moves

ASPECT OF SELF

  • Self-respect, Integrity, Self-esteem, Self-worth
  • Loss of identity
  • Unexpressed love, Unlived moments, Wasted time, Denied capability
  • Impossible expectations
  • Loss of dreams, loss of lifestyle
  • Loss of professional identity/job, loss of reputation, loss of independence
  • Body image, health, accident, surgery, illness, loss of function/control

CHILDHOOD

  • Healthy parenting, affection, affirmation, unmet needs,
  • Threat of loss (divorce, separation of parents), stable family life,
  • Security and safety (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental)
  • Siblings (gain or loss)
  • Innocence

DEVELOPMENTAL

  • Loss of younger self
  • Healthy emotional/physical/mental/spiritual development
  • Body changes: Childhood, adolescence, middle age, older age
  • Midlife issues
  • Transitions: Graduation, marriage, military service, childbearing, Parenting, empty nest, job changes, retirement, treatment.

MATERIAL OBJECTS

  • Money, property, house, car, sentimental objects, clothes, collections,
  • Investments, inheritance.

RECOVERY FROM ADDICTIONS

  • Drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex, spending, exercise, etc.

A Model for Understanding Grief

  1. Denial – shock-disbelief (“must be a bad dream”)
  2. Grieving – release of emotions. Talk about it-tears-cursing
  3. Depression – sadness, moods-difficult to change-but can be changed
  4. Physical Symptoms – may be manifested
  5. Panic/Anxiety – feel like I’m losing my mind-disorientation – Valley of Death
  6. Guilt – Feeling of responsibility- If only… – Real Guilt-false guilt
  7. Anger/Mad – forsaken. Feeling – why me?
  8. Reisistance to Change
  9. Gradual Awareness of Hope – small glimmers
  10. Reaffirm – Life is good _____.
  11. Reality

THE TEN STAGES OF GRIEF PROCESS (Granger Westberg)

In acute grief any significant loss (death of a loved one, amputation, retirement, leaving home, loss of face, etc…) triggers the process.

  1. Shock – temporary anesthesia, numbness, disbelief, denial, dosconnectedness, chaos.
  2. Emotions begin to surface and be released – tears, cursing, etc.
  3. Depression and loneliness (incubation) – sadness, moods – difficult to change – but can be changed.
  4. Physical symptoms – may be manifested (mind, body, spirit are inseparable –listen to them).
  5. Panic/Anxiety – feeling trapped by loss, loss of self, a piece of me is gone with the other person – feel like I’m losing my mind, disorientation, Valley of Death
  6. Guilt (It is both essential and potentially lethal). – feeling of responsibility – if only ___.; Real Guilt; False Guilt
  7. Anger, hostility, resentment, and cynicism – forsaken feeling – Why me?
  8. A return to the usual is difficult. By aware of the “American Way” of grief.
  9. Hope (Ahhh!). Some sense of meaning.
  10. Able to affirm reality

DIMENSIONS OF CHILDHOOD GRIEF (From The Grieving Child by Alan Wolfelt, 1996)

  1. Reconciliation
  2. Loss/Emptiness/Sadness
  3. Relief
  4. Guilt/Self Blame
  5. Fear
  6. Acting Out Behavior
  7. Explosive Emotions
  8. Disorganization/Panic
  9. Big Man or Big Woman Syndrome
  10. Regression
  11. Physiological Changes
  12. Lack of Feelings
  13. Shock/Denial/Disbelief/Numbness