Grieving isn’t just about death

Grieving isn't just about death

It’s funny that we can all relate and understand grief when we associate it with death, but grieving isn’t just about death, is it?

For me personally there are lots of others reasons that we need to grieve or experience grief.  I’ve been grieving the absence of the relationship that I longed for with my Mum for over 30 years. 

Thankfully, we now have the best relationship we’ve ever had, I finally feel like she loves me and hears me. How weird is that!

What is Grief?

Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.  When you’re  deprived by something or someone you valued.

As I said, we associate grief with death. What other things should you be aware of (if you aren’t already)? Below are some suggestions to ponder. 

Grieving isn’t just about death

Here are some examples that I can think of that involve the grieving process, maybe you can think of others but it’s important to recognise it, when it happens.  Practice and maybe talk it over with someone, it’s great to get different perspectives. 

  • Absence of something, relationship, achievement, children, 
  • Letting go of something/someone (not just in death, could be a broken friendship/relationship)
  • Not achieving something you set out to do
  • Experience that has caused you to feel like you’ve lost something/been personally invaded, e.g. virginity, sexual assault
  • Loss of independence
  • When you’re feeling resistant to changing something, it’s not the change you fear but the loss. So grieving the loss is part of accepting the resistance.

My experience of grieving the loss of a relationship

For many years I dreamt of a relationship with my Dad and whilst I had a relationship with my Mum, it wasn’t quite right. Dad was busy with his drinking and so having any kind of connection with him was non-existent. 

Whilst Mum was the non-drinker, I felt so disconnected and misunderstood, I’m not sure it’s her fault but I blamed her for a long time.  As I grew up and got more awareness, I realised how angry I was and deep down I had a sense of loss, the loss of the relationship I was so desperate for. 

My body ached and I felt so hurt, It was out of my control and I had no idea how to fix it. I acted up as a child and did whatever i could for attention. I just felt that she couldn’t give me what I needed. 

It’s not until now, in 2019 that our relationship is in a place I’m happier with. I feel I matter, that she gets me a bit better and accepts me the way I am. It’s not perfect, but even though years have passed, with a lot of hurt, I’ve had to grieve that loss. The relationship I wanted wasn’t to be, but I’ve accepted a new and different version. 

Not accepting what was and having delusional hope about anything changing kept me stuck. Accepting that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted (which hurts me as I hate not getting what I want!, ridiculous I know), I was able to let go of that anger and turn my relationship with my Mum around. 

What do you need to grieve in your life? Remember, grieving isn’t just about death. 

Next Steps

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If you’d like to chat then do get in touch, I’m happy to gift you some time. Click here or email jo@johuey.co.uk or call (07732) 403305. 

Remember you aren’t alone and you can always join my Change Your Mind Facebook group, where other families of alcoholics support each other with challenges they experience from the past or present.  You may have lived with an alcoholic in your past, but it’s still impacting you in the present. 

I also run a podcast with my sister, click here to find out more. 

 

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