Grief ~~ A Natural Response to Loss

by Annell Decker, LPC

Annell Decker

Grief applies to the loss of a loved one to death, certainly. It is also a natural and normal human response to any big change in life. Even if we initiate the change (new job or house) and there are advantages. Moving is one of the biggest, requiring changes in:  friends, medical care, resources, finances, many everyday securities that give us a sense of “home.” Those who are, or have been, in the military or clergy work experience regular moves. Other changes include: changing jobs, losing a job, divorce, changes in the family, chronic medical conditions, trauma such as physical or sexual assault, medical or physical handicaps. You can probably think of many more.

What can you do about the feelings of sadness, anger, fear, resentment or confusion? First of all, accept that your feelings are real and valid. Feelings are not bad, they just are. What you do about them can have negative or positive results. Talk to people you trust & who care about you. Write in a journal or make a chart of advantages, disadvantages, or whatever works for you. Putting your thoughts down on paper is very therapeutic. Other ideas are to pray, draw or paint.

Give yourself some extra time to process feelings, needs & tasks. Ask for or allow others to help. Those who care about you want/need to do something, let them! If you are feeling rushed or pushed into making a decision, take a break to think, talk, pray, write or meditate until you are more confident.

Getting support from others who have been through the same thing is very valuable. For those who are dealing with specific medical problems, search the internet for support groups & information. If physical or sexual assault is involved, seek the help of professionals. Every county in Texas is served by a crisis center. You can check the phone book for numbers, ask a counselor or clergy. If the change you are grieving is the addiction of someone, look to Al-anon meetings and literature. Using the Serenity Prayer as a coping skill to sort out a problem can be helpful.

One way to work on resolving childhood trauma is to write a letter, pouring out all the feelings, needs not met, anger & a plan for self care. Burn the letter as a way to let go, maybe invite a trusted person as witness to the event. Take extra special care of yourself:  take a break, mild physical exercise, pedicure, massage, extra sleep, enjoy nature, learn to meditate, learn how to relax, do activities you enjoy, interact with a pet, bubble bath or reading.

Helpful books are plentiful. To explore your core beliefs, try The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Spencer Johnson’s The Precious Present and Who Moved My Cheese are good reminders. Techniques in Coping with the Stressed-Out People in Your Life by Ronald Nathan & Marian Stuart also apply to self help. Check your local library. Any nonfiction book can be obtained through inter-library loan. If you want your own copy, look for used books on half.com, amazon.com or other sites.

Copyright Annell Decker.

About the Author: Annell Decker has a BA in History and a MEd in Counseling  from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. She is a certified Licensed Professional Counselor. Annell worked with the Family Crisis Center of the Big Bend, Alpine and the Ray D. Anderson Community Corrections Facility, Brownfield (TX). For the last 7 ½ years, Annell has worked as a Case Manager for La Hacienda Treatment Center in Hunt, (TX). She has volunteered her time with the American Cancer Society, Peterson Regional Hospice in Bridging the Gap and Pathways programs.

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