Mourning in our lives.

Mourning in our lives is an inevitable process and also the emotions that accompany it. Emotional and physical loss is the subject of many studies and considerations and is nothing new, although still distant and incomprehensible to many of us.

We are dealing with mourning for the loss of loved ones, but also animals, where they are often family members and the loss of our pets is not at all less than the loss of people with whom we also had deep bonds.

We also meet the so-called loss as a  “Secondary loss”, but not always relative, because it will not always appear, although here you can understand the loss of everything that was related to the loss, it can be such mundane aspects as finances, property, or middle ground transport (when it comes to disability) but also those that created this uniqueness between two or more individuals. Common conversations, journeys and other experiences in our lives.

Another aspect of loss and the feeling of the grief process is the loss of a body part following an accident or surgery where an organ or part of the body had to be removed, often relational for oncology patients.

All such experiences are strong and often impenetrable, and they are often left unsaid, suppressed or unresponsive in any way, which may have consequences later in our lives. It is good if we can afford the grief process, whatever it may be, so as not to accumulate unnecessary emotions, which can be interpreted by our mind, fade and become distorted in their context. For example, a person who has experienced many losses in their life and the process has not been worked through. It is as an individual that we will interpret the fact that everyone is leaving us, so I will not become attached to myself or deserve no one.

Grief is the process of learning to understand and survive the loss. Many emotions are related to this process and many are misunderstood by society and ourselves, sometimes a given emotion is misinterpreted and related to another aspect of life.

Our behaviour during dramatic experiences may differ significantly from one another and will affect each of us differently in the resulting situation. The emotions that accompany experiences such as loss build up into a range of emotional variety, and the accompanying behaviours will differ from one another, reappearing and disappearing again and again. Such main feelings during mourning will be, for example, sadness, overwhelming grief and disbelief, numbness with a simultaneous lack of rational or clear thinking, blaming yourself, and trying to bargain with God for example, why is it not me, why it must be so, etc., anxiety-depressive states including nervous breakdown. As well as denying facts and delusion ourselves that nothing has changed. Anger and anger are not alien emotions in such situations until finally there is an acceptance and a return to the new normality and routine of life. All these emotions will be intertwined with each other and they do not have a set program of appearing and disappearing, also some of them do not appear at all due to the prevailing understanding, e.g. long illness and old age of a loved one, made us realize that it can go away in every moment.

There are also physical changes in the body, frequent headaches, stomach problems, and general stress related to lose. Dreams will take on different images as well as their meaning, insomnia may also appear, as well as constant lethargy and emotional exhaustion. There will be avoidance or problems with social interaction and withdrawal from public life, and often even temporarily from family life. Our religious consciousness can be doubted like questioning the authority of the supreme.

A new state of affairs in our life must occur to be able to function properly, new rules will arise like routine in everyday life. To help yourself in such a process, it is good to have work in therapy where the above process will certainly be discussed, where new efforts will be made to accept the new reality as well as to come to terms with the loss.

Although the process may last from six weeks to several years and each family member will react differently, and the surrounding environment will perceive it differently, we will adequately respond to individual family members in terms of attachment and feelings. Some regret the loss of their parents, others over their siblings. There may be an aspect of “forgotten mourners” when family members do not perceive the suffering of others because of the emotional pressure and racing thoughts that they often have to face themselves.

Another aspect of such a process will be experiencing such sadness and working on understanding and adapting to new responsibilities in a given environment. All such emotions should be worked out at a convenient time for us. However, sooner or later such a state of affairs will emerge, we will encounter new order issues on our way, new responsibilities will have to be established and a new purpose in life will have to be found.

It is understandable that we may never come to terms with the death of our loved ones, but we will learn to live without them, and it is not a matter of choice, but of being back in a demanding world. The mourning process is demanding and lengthy, and although we as humans understand that we are born and then leave this world, it does not exclude the possibility that we may behave differently when this happens to ourselves.

How can we help ourselves and our loved ones during times of mourning?
Find time for yourself and work through the emotions that are important to us, talk to loved ones if possible and share what we struggle with after the loss of loved ones. If we want to help others who have suffered a tragedy, let us not avoid them, but let us also give them time and a place to react. It is understandable that we often do not know how to act in such situations and turn everyday contact into a “conspiracy of silence” or criticize or advise what such a person should do by downplaying or exaggeratingly confirming the tragedy that has occurred. Sometimes it is enough to just write, “that I am in pain and if I can help you somehow, know that I am.” It will be much better than keeping silent and waiting for the mourner to speak up. Due to the cultural mix, it is good to bear in mind that some of us want to stay alone for a while and others need constant support and hugs. It’s also hard to cheer you up and look for solutions. The state of mourning, as I mentioned, may last for some time, but if it lasts too long or there is a significant deterioration in well-being and persists, it is worth consulting a specialist. I would like to emphasize here that I do not recommend sending others to a therapist as advice in difficult times, such a person must decide for himself whether such a process will be appropriate and appropriate for the individual in that particular situation.

Published by Marcin Bogucki

Counselling & Psychotherapy for both English and Polish speakers.

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