When we lose a loved one, the emotions in the aftermath are often so raw they dominate everyday living. Many also fear that sooner or later, others and they themselves, will forget their loved one. For some grief looks like depression, with feelings of anger, bitterness, impatience and are irritated by friends. Others experience friends and community members avoiding them, not knowing what to say, which can lead to social anxiety.
In grief, we can discover that the people we love, and attach to, where there were mutually rewarding relationships, have affected us in ways that were not in our awareness previously. They have a fundamental impact on our sense of self, the loss creates confusion about ourselves, who we are and who have we become., as well as our sense of purpose - how to be without that relationship.
Grief is a gradual, long-term process, about mourning a death and working with the rupture towards a sense of accepting a new reality, the finality of their absence, exploring ways of having a meaningful life without them, while loving and caring for them without their presence, through holding on to memories, making them part of the story to your life.
Loss is intrinsic to the human experience and at the far end of the spectrum is grief which is one of the greatest manifestations of psychological pain that we can go through. When finding a profound sense of gratitude for having loved the way we did, in honouring the memory of the loved one, their legacy lives on.
Jacinta Bourke is a counsellor and psychotherapist operating in the Ealing W5 and surrounding areas. She is a member of BACP - the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.