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GRIEF AND LOSS
Losing someone or something you love is very painful — and it is something that almost everyone will experience at some point in his or her life. Loss that goes unacknowledged or unattended can become unhealthy. But grief that is expressed and experienced has a potential for healing that eventually can strengthen and enrich life. There is no right or wrong way to grieve — but there are ways to make your grieving more complete and more positive.
When someone close to you dies, you do not just lose that person on the physical level; you also face the loss of what might have been. Grief is a reaction to loss, any loss. The grief associated with death is familiar to most of us, but we face a wide variety of losses throughout our lives: traumatic experiences, divorce, relocation, loss of health and mobility, and other losses.
• Grief is often expressed by feelings such as anger, guilt, sadness, or loneliness.
• Grief affects us in other ways as well---spiritually, behaviorally, physically, and cognitively.
• Bereavement is the way we process grief. Each of us grieves in our own way, affected by such factors as our culture, gender, and circumstances surrounding the loss.
• Every loss has a unique meaning to us.
The single most important factor in healing from loss is having the support of other people. Even if you aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings under normal circumstances, it is important to talk about them when you’re grieving. Knowing that others know and understand your grieving will make you feel better, less alone with your pain, and will help you heal.
Support can come from a number of different sources: Talking with a psychotherapist, therapist, or grief counselor at Catholic Charities may be a good idea if the intensity of your grief doesn’t diminish over time—that is, months go by and you still have physical symptoms, such as trouble with eating or sleeping or your emotional state impairs your ability to go about your daily routine.