Healing our Losses

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked
and the self-same well from which your laughter rises
was sometimes filled with your tears.

(Kahil Gibran, The prophet)

In Ireland November is traditionally a time when we remember and honor our loved ones who have passed away. It can be a diffcult time for many, as it comes when the time changes to winter time and we have increased amounts of darkness and we head towards the winter solstice.

Loss affects People in different ways.Grief and Loss

It is not usual to experience.

Disbelief. Immediately after a death, it can be hard to accept what happened. Sometimes people try to deny it, feel numb or even shock, or expect to see their loved one even though they know the person is gone.

Guilt, it is normal to regret things you might have said or done, or failed to say or do.

Physical ProblemsGrief can take its toll on your health, causing weight loss. Or gain. Anxiety, less ability to fight off diseases, extreme fatigue.

Fear. Death often causes people to  face their own fears about dying, while others fear life without their loved one, or taking on new responsibilities.

Anger. Some people feel angry at their loved one for having “deserted” them. Some may feel angry about the unfairness of the death. Others might find the need to blame someone.

Grief SpasmsMany people have uneven emotions which seem to come and go, some days “feel good” while the next day or the next minute, and out of nowhere you feel intense sadness. This is normal even though some people feel they are “going crazy”


Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. The more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be. You may associate grieving with the death of a loved one—which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief—but any loss can cause grief, including:

  • Divorce or relationship breakup
  • Loss of health
  • Losing a job
  • Loss of financial stability
  • A miscarriage
  • Retirement
  • Death of a pet
  • Loss of a cherished dream
  • A loved one’s serious illness
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of safety after a trauma
  • Selling the family home

Even subtle losses in life can trigger a sense of grief. For example, you might grieve after moving away from home, graduating from college, or changing jobs. Whatever your loss, it’s personal to you, so don’t feel ashamed about how you feel, or believe that it’s somehow only appropriate to grieve for certain things. If the person, animal, relationship, or situation was significant to you, it’s normal to grieve the loss you’re experiencing. Whatever the cause of your grief, though, there are healthy ways to deal with the pain and eventually come to terms with your loss.

The grieving process

Grieving is a highly individual experience; there’s no right or wrong way to grieve. How you grieve depends on many factors, including your personality and coping style, your life experience, your faith, and how significant the loss was to you.

Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

‘We experience grief as a result of a loss of attachment to anything or person that has helped to define us’.
How to deal with the grieving process 


While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.

How to deal with the grieving process

While grieving a loss is an inevitable part of life, there are ways to help cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and eventually, find a way to pick up the pieces and move on with your life.


  • Acknowledge your pain.
  • Accept that grief can trigger many different and unexpected emotions.
  • Understand that your grieving process will be unique to you.
  • Seek out face-to-face support from people who care about you.
  • Support yourself emotionally by taking care of yourself physically.
  • Recognize the difference between grief and depression.


Loss is an ongoing theme in our lives.

“For we lose not only through death, but also by leaving and being left, by changing and letting go and moving on. Our losses include not only our separations and departures from those we love, but our conscious and unconscious losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusions of safety and the loss of our own younger self, the self that thought it always would be unwrinkled and invulnerable and immortal”

Judith Viorst: Necessary Losses.