Many Sources of Grief

Whenever we speak of grief a lot of people feel it is solely about the death of someone. This is not the only cause of grief. There are many different sources that are common to all people and there are events or circumstances that create grief in someone selectively.

Here are some common examples:

  1. The death of a pet.
  2. A significant illness in which one may lose some functioning.
  3. The loss of a job.
  4. Moving to a new apartment, home or other housing.
  5. A divorce or loss of a romantic relationship.
  6. Miscarriage.
  7. Graduating from school, college or trades program.
  8. A loved one moving out of town.
  9. The sale or donation of household items or things that have sentimental significance.
  10. A major change in one’s personal status i.e. weight gain, weight loss, the need for corrective lenses, onset of inability to eat certain foods…
  11. Medical conditions common with aging such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cataracts…
  12. Requiring medications or treatment for medical problems.
  13. Becoming a parent, grandparent, great grandparent which may cause you to feel “old.”
  14. Significant debt, bankruptcy or other cause of feeling financially unstable.
  15. The death or significant illness of community members, celebrity or public official close to your own age.
  16. A class reunion.
  17. A wedding anniversary for an advanced length of time such as 30 years, 50 years and so on.
  18. Dramatic changes in your community such as a building being demolished, a new franchise in town, an old business closing, the loss of a police force, a house fire, violence…
  19. Any legal action such as being sued or bringing a lawsuit against someone else. This is worsened if it lasts a significant amount of time or results in a significant loss of resources.
  20. Retirement.

Some of the examples are not purely bad or negative. It is possible that these “happy” events also have some negative aspects or drawbacks. Any event or circumstance may cause some melancholy or mild feelings of loss or change.

Do any of these events cause you to have a permanent change? Is the impact only temporary? Does any one person actually have a few of these events at the same time?

Any of these events may add another layer of grief to the layers that are already in place. Once you have added layers are you able to process any grief-causing situation or are you basically shut down? In essence, are you able to process and release any childhood grief at this time in your life? Not without intention. Ask anyone who has actually released any childhood issues if they could have done it without addressing it on purpose. This is not likely. Once anything is buried, it usually takes a concerted effort to unearth it and find a way to make it better. There are those times when significant childhood issues surface without warning. Then what do you do? You either suppress it again or you make an effort to feel better about it or some combination of the two.

Are you able to recognize how layers of grief make your current level of coping more difficult? Any event that disrupts your feelings of grief may cause you to become overwhelmed. It is like scratching the surface of a lava flow. The underlying layers are intense and difficult to manage. Your normal ability to function may pale in comparison to the intensity of the lava. It may take some time in order to regain your perspective and believe that you are able to cope effectively again. How many steps did you take backward when presented with the lava? Now you must begin again. This feeling alone may cause you more grief.

As you have seen, grief may come from many varied sources. It may get easier to cope with grief. It also may get so intense that you feel unable to function effectively. You may be surprised where your feelings of grief have come from. It may be any change in your normal life that brings about feelings of sadness, discomfort or requiring adjustment.

We come back to the concept of perspective. Any change in life may be approached as positive or an occasion for learning. Even the times that you feel you are moving backward may be the best opportunities to learn, make adjustments and become wiser. It is truly the best perspective if you are able to be thankful for contrast. No action, event or circumstances would be outside of your ability to cope effectively.

“What could you do if you knew you could not fail?” This attitude would open a world of possibilities for you to live with. All matters are manageable. Everything will teach you some valuable lessons. Even a cycle of the same circumstances could still teach you something new each time you experienced it.

Now we come back to your perspective on the afterlife. Every experience is a lesson. Anything positive or negative is intended to teach you. You have written this chart and there are actually very few things that happen that are random or unplanned. This is your own lesson plan that you wrote with a large amount of consideration. You understand what you need to experience and learn. You want to grow and mature in all areas of life so you believe that these experiences will round out your soul growth.

To understand this makes everything fall into perspective. Grief is unnecessary. Grief is what humans experience when they think that they have lost something. This is never the case. Even in your own life you could write a list of events that have caused you grief and you could list the number of things that each experience taught you. You have lost nothing. In reality, you have only gained knowledge, insight and wisdom. You cannot fail, truly.

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