Seniors know about loss. Let’s face it, a loss is simply a real fact of life. Even an infant, fresh from the mother’s womb experiences a sort of loss. Being held upside down by your feet and experiencing the pain of being swatted on your naked butt is easily translated into a loss!
Most of us learn early that there are events in life that have greater and more lasting consequences than a simple slap on our naked butts at birth.
The loss of loved ones such as our grandparents, parents, siblings, or friends, is painful. We may need to move to a new location and lose the comfort and companionship of dear friends and be forced to make new friends.
My own kids were forced many times to change schools and lose friends. Those experiences were very hard on them.
Our pets die. As we age, our health may deteriorate. We learn through painful experiences that loss is a more common experience and an uncomfortable reality of life.
The loss we experience becomes more significant. We may lose a job or suffer health problems. Toward the end of life, the losses can pile up.
Learning to deal with loss is a part of developing as a human being.
1. Rely on your friends and family. Even if you typically prefer to spend the majority of your time alone, now is the time to reach out to your friends and family.
◦ Grief can do funny things to your mind if you spend too much time by yourself. Though your instinct might be to withdraw from the world, this can be a mistake if you do it for too long.
◦ Avoid feeling weak or embarrassed because you need help. Everyone needs help at one time or another.
2. Face the loss. It might be painful to deal with the loss directly, but constant distraction, self-medication, and other forms of denial can lead to serious consequences and prevents any true healing from occurring.
3. Share your feelings with others. Whether that be a friend, family member, clergy member, or professional, share the feelings you’re experiencing. The alternative is to keep it all to yourself. This will make it much more challenging to move beyond your loss.
4. Be patient with yourself. Depending on the loss and your individual nature, some losses can take years to overcome. Just trust that things will get better over time. Loss is an unfortunate part of life. It takes time to recover.
5. Take care of yourself physically. Ensure that you eat well, get enough sleep, and take care of yourself in general. If you normally exercise, continue that habit. If you don’t exercise, you might find that a good workout lessens the stress and anxiety you’re feeling. Maintain your normal grooming standards.
6. Be grateful, not for your loss, but for all the other things and people in your life. While your loss may be devastating, there are still many other things in your life for which you can be grateful. Make a list of all the positives in your life.
7. Continue to do the things you enjoy. Continue with your normal hobbies and enjoyable activities as much as possible. Suffering a loss doesn’t require you to avoid those things you normally enjoy.
8. Consider outside sources of support. There are support groups, churches, and online communities that would be happy to help. Think about all of the options you have available to you and use those with which you feel comfortable.
9. Get professional assistance. If you find you need additional help, there are experts that specialize in loss and grief. It might be easier to talk to a stranger than someone you know. On the other hand, some people find it more challenging. What works best for you?
Loss is an inevitable part of life. Everyone that survives childhood will deal with a significant loss in one form or another. It’s necessary to face and deal with loss directly.
Rely on your friends and family as much as you need. Remember that there are communities of people and also experts that can help you.
Finally, its important to take good care of yourself and be patient with your progress.
Please share your thoughts and any response you may have in the form below.