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Grieving: Understanding a Loved One’s Loss


Shawna Crabill, Marriage Therapist, Family Therapist, Individual Therapist, Couple Therapist, Therapist

As strong as you are, nothing quite compares you to the pain of you or your loved one losing someone close to them; a relative or a friend. Most of the time people remain at a loss, wondering what to do for them or tell them. There is an understanding of their pain, but this is almost always accompanied by a strange sense of loss, of not knowing what to say or do.

The Personal Nature of Grief Most people are tempted to fall back on their own feelings or experiences from the past when they lost someone. However, it is important to note that not everyone grieves in the same way. Grief is purely personal and there is no correct or appropriate way to respond. There are many factors that combine differently to determine a person’s reaction to grief, and these do so differently for everyone.

It is More Complex Than it Seems For the onlooker, all they see is the loss of the loved one. For the person affected, though, there is so much more that has gone in their minds. There are the actual primary loss and other secondary losses that are most of the time psychosocial and intangible. Each of these losses brings about its own grief and a need for mourning. Most of the time, these are brought on as a result of the recognition of the roles the loved ones would play in their lives.

Emotions The typical reaction to loss is sadness. Grief, however, does not mean one will only be sad. Other feelings that should be considered include anxiety, depression, guilt, helplessness, impatience, withdrawal, loneliness, confusion or impaired concentration. It is also important to remember that these feelings might stay on for a while, sometimes longer than someone else would typically expect.

Dealing with grief is difficult; there is no single right or wrong way of doing it. Loss of a loved one is tough, but with Shawna Crabill's (LMFT, of Charleston, SC), guidance, some of the heaviest burdens will feel a little lighter and easier to navigate.