It begins when we are young: loss of a pet, a friend moves, a grandparent dies. We learn from our families early on how to deal with loss and can carry these beliefs our entire lives. We tell boys, ‘It’s not okay to cry;’ we offer food for comfort; we say, “Shake it off, you’ll be fine;” or ‘Don’t be sad around your mother because it will upset her.” As adults, caring friends may want us to move on quickly because of their own discomfort. Most of us grieve alone. Each incomplete grieving experience follows us in future relationships.
It’s okay to grieve in front of others and take time to process feelings. You can go back and complete the grief process. Make a chart of losses you’ve experienced. It doesn’t have to be a death; maybe you lost your job or a relationship. Choose one to complete. Think back to messages you received and how you grieved. Writing a letter now, whether you can give it to the person or not, can offer some closure. Your pain may never go away completely, but the intensity will lessen if you allow yourself the time you need to grieve.
Some helpful books for you to read are The Grief Recovery Handbook and the 5 Stages of Grief.
Sometimes grieving in the safety of a therapist’s office may be the best way to help you. If I may be of support to you, don’t hesitate to call and arrange a consultation. We’ll assess your needs and make a plan.