This is a very difficult question. If the many losses that one may experience in a lifetime are not acknowledged, learned from and incorporated, then according to Elaine Childs-Gowell, Author of Good Grief Rituals, when faced with a new grief of loss, in addition to dealing with the current grief experience, we will also have to be dealing with past grief.
There is no right way to grieve, or exact amount of time that a person will grieve. On this website I have tried to include a variety of ways to cope, of rituals to create in order to move on with life and begin living again.
How can I reframe my loss?
We also need to realize that with losses, not to be saddened by the loss, but to learn from it, a very difficult lesson, depending on the type of loss. For some types of losses, we may never understand the reasons and they may be difficult to reframe, turning a negative experience into one for positive growth.
attended a course on Renewing Life in the fall of
1996. So many of the participants had experienced their own losses. One
couple had lost two daughters under the age of a year to genetic abnormalities.
We worked to reframe this loss so they could appreciate the short time
they had with their daughters and to cherish the time they had with their
healthy son. Another person was trying to figure out how to reframe the
fact that her teenage daughter had been molested, as she had been herself
many years ago. What we found to be thankful for in this situation was
the fact that she as a mother now was able to be there for her daughter
and support her because she had been through
it herself, when her own mother had not been supportive. At times it was difficult to find the reframing.
This past fall a favorite high school teacher and his family lost their home of 25 years to fire. Although the loss was enormous and devistating, there were moments of hope and of light. As they were sifting through the ashes, an unmelt Hershey's Chocolate Bar was discovered, and the pictures and home movies of their twins were safe within canisters. The outpouring of support, of friendship from the community was phenomenal, perhaps a way for everyone to be able express their thanks, their concern and their gratitude for all the years of teaching. Without the fire, they never would have known how much of a positive impact, and how many lives the family has touched over the years.
As has everyone, I have had my own share of losses, but in hindsight, I realize that what has happened after the loss--of job, of relationship, of career goals--ultimately the outcome has been for the best, although at the time I did not see it.
To quote Frank O'Connor
On Letting Go
However, the most difficult loss to deal with is that of loss through
death, the final letting go. This loss will entail
a prolonged grieving period, which in some cases may last a life time.
What you do with the grief, how much you allow it to control your life,
rather than controlling the grief, will determine what quality of life
you will have after the loss. Please see sections on What
is Grief, Who experiences Grief and How
long I will grief?