The Many Faces of Grief

Apr 23rd, 2020 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Grief, a Natural Phenomenon

Grief is the emotional experience people have when we experience loss… loss of any kind. SCJ has written numerous articles about the many facets of grief, including Dealing With Loss and Grief, the difference between grief and depression, collective community grief, loss of a parent. Many other SCJ articles talk about grief as a natural and normal experience.

Elisabeth Kubler Ross is considered the historical expert on grief, what it is and how to deal with it. Her five stages of grief are well known. Most of us know grief when we lose a family member or close friend. But grief can also occur over the loss of something non-human. And that grief can be just as troublesome, indeed debilitating, as the loss of a person near and dear to us.

Grief in a Pandemic

COVID19 is opening the door to a myriad of grief experiences for humans around the globe. We are in the middle of a ‘season of loss’.

  • events and vacations
  • sense of safety
  • routines
  • social connecetions
  • jobs
  • graduations
  • proms
  • friends and family members

You each can add items to this non-exhaustive list. Many of us were in denial (Kubler Ross’ first stage of grief) in January and February, 2020. We heard the news reports and didn’t give them much thought. After all, the virus was in China, not the United States (we were wrong, by the way!). The next stages of grief occur at different paces with each of us. But we all are going through them. Anger. Depression. Bargaining. Acceptance. And now the grief experts have added a sixth stage… Finding Meaning.

Many of us need help to deal with the stages of grief. We need to talk about what we are feeling. We need to weep. We need to express our anger. And especially now, we need to find meaning in the loss. That will be different for each of us.

What this retired social worker/educator/therapist will tell you is that no matter the stage you are in (and you might find yourself going back and forth between them), talking about your feelings and experiences with others who have a good listening ear is critical to managing the entire grief experience. It is something we just cannot do by ourselves. So find someone who will listen, and listen to your friends and family when they need to talk. It is a critical part of the healing process.

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