When you hear "grief and loss", it's often associated with the death of a loved one.
The truth is, however, grief is a normal -- and complicated -- human emotion that everyone experiences.
Anytime we lose a part of our identity, something we've felt attached to, grief is not far behind to rear its painful, disruptive head.
Grief occurs when we have an emotional attachment to something or someone, and that relationship is dismantled in some way:
Death of a loved one
The job you worked hard at that was dissolved
A breakup from a friend, partner, or family member(s)
A beloved pet that passed away
A major change in your or a loved ones' health or identity
Cultural or historical loss
War or civil unrest
Change of environment that was meaningful to you (housing loss, neighbors or children that moved, your favorite tree was cut down, etc)
These can all be triggering for loss and grief.
What's important to know is that what may not be a big loss to you could potentially be a major loss to someone else. Again, because of our attachments to certain people, places, or things, our grief will reflect our relationship to the thing that is no longer present in our lives.
Grief can also occur when we feel there has been an injustice in some way: land that was forcibly taken generations back, racial inequity, and so on.
We can even feel grief as a secondary or tertiary lens, when we feel deeply for someone else who is undergoing loss, or when we experience grief for the state of the world.
Grief is a complicated, messy, painful thing to live through, and yet the truth of the matter is that grief is the pain we feel when we have loved, or yearned, or wanted something deeply.
When it comes to losing someone or something you truly loved, grief is our physiological and mental way of mourning the bigness that person, animal, home, job, and so forth had in our hearts. It is important to acknowledge it, let it move through our bodies, and find safe places to communicate the loss.
Over the past year I have experienced an immense amount of loss, prompting me to dive deeper in to the world of grief, beyond academia, and into the practical world.
In my own exploration of loss, I also observed many individuals -- clients, friends, family, and colleagues -- experiencing grief, and found solace in opening up dialogs about the loss and bereavement cycles. I also came into connection with incredible providers and resources specializing in this topic.
From my personal experiences, grief connection with others, and my training in grief and trauma through the lens of a Health Coach and Massage Therapist, this series demanded to be developed.
In this Grief Uncensored article series, I'll cover different types of grief, share tools and resources, provide insights on cultural practices involving loss, and offer rituals and guidance for walking through life after loss.
The hope is that these articles provide you or anyone experiencing loss to gain some empowerment in your circumstances, to have hope that your pain from the loss will become more manageable, to find safety in play and joy again, and to know you're not alone.
Our first article next week will cover holiday grief and loss. If you have anything specific you'd like covered for that article or other articles, please reach out by commenting below or filling out the following form.