Sadness and grief are natural reactions to changes in familiar habits due to death, divorce, moving, graduation, retirement, illness, and even vacations. All of these involve loss that can be painful for two reasons:
It is not time or keeping busy that heals the painful wounds of loss, but creating a new definition of yourself and completing what was not finished in the relationship.
COMPLETE UNFINISHED BUSINESS
No matter how good a relationship or a situation is, it is a work in progress and therefore incomplete. As soon as you experience a loss, your mind reviews and searches for what was never communicated. This review continues intermittently until it is completed. The following show how you can help the process by communicating your regrets, resentments, unspoken appreciation, and unmet dreams to a mental image of the person who is gone, in a letter that you may never send, or to the eyes of a friend in role play.
Let Go of Resentments
Express Unspoken Gratitude, Dreams, and Future Plans
“I want you to know. . . .”
AFFIRM BELIEFS THAT REDEFINE YOURSELF
All relationships and situations develop their own set patterns and routines. When you become disconnected from these, it is natural to feel as though you are in free fall. Unless you are an expert “sky diver,” such experiences will trigger your most painful beliefs. To discover them, take a mental snapshot of the worst part of the ending of the relationship. As you look at that memory or mental image of the person who is gone, ask yourself:
Directions: Mark any hurtful thoughts that are linked to your current or past
losses. Then mark any healing beliefs that you would like to have to help you negotiate this difficult time in your life.
Change Hurtful Thoughts into
POINTERS FOR TURNING LOSSES INTO GAINS
Identifying new ideas, affirming them regularly, and using some of the following pointers will give you the compass you need to land on your feet on solid ground:
The Grief Recovery Handbook by Joan James and Russell Friedman (Harper Perennial, 1998).
Contact your local hospice or GriefNet at http://rivendell.org or http://divorce.internetworld.net.