A Word To The Wise

With Kate Schroeder, M.Ed, LPC, NCC

The Process of Letting Go

When someone dies or we experience a loss of something to which we have been attached on any level, it is very appropriate to feel sadness or grief. Loss includes any kind of losing: the loss of a person, a relationship, a job, a career, our youth, our potential, a favorite article of clothing, as well as many other daily losses that we experience sometimes completely out of our conscious awareness. We can also feel a sense of “loss” when we move on to a new school, neighborhood or job, even when we choose to make that move in our own life.

Feeling sad or “down” when we experience a loss, no matter how prepared we are for it, is a very appropriate emotional response to that experience. Grief is a multifaceted response to the loss of something or someone that has died or is no longer available to us, and to which we had formed a bond or attachment on some level. Although many people focus on just the emotional aspects of grief, there are also physical, cognitive, behavioral, social and spiritual facets of grief too, that often get played out over time. It seems, too, that the more recent the loss, the more “appropriate” our sad feelings, at least according to popular cultural belief, and the more time that seems to pass between the loss and our feelings, the less tolerance many people have (including ourselves) for those feelings. It’s as if we should “get over it” within a specific time frame.

The striking thing about grief is that it takes however long it takes to move through it fully; there is no time frame attached or right way to process grief. Depending upon the kind and availability of support that a person has in their life, they will either be able to stay with their grief experience and work through that as it comes, or a person may find themselves unable to stay present to the grief, and will often encounter complications on a physical, emotional or cognitive level later down the road, in some cases when they least suspect this to happen. Many people return to toxic relationships or environments, or even addictive substances, once their grief experience becomes too intense emotionally; it’s as if this painful substance/relationship/person is a comforting balm to sooth the strong feelings that can arise through grief. And sometimes all it takes is the consideration of a loss to trigger the feelings attached to the idea of a loss, almost like experiencing anticipatory grief.

The important thing to know is that the only way to move through our grief is to accept that not only is it present, but it is also a very normal human response to loss. When necessary, seek help or support in moving through the experiences related to loss.
Acceptance of our present emotional experience and finding the support we need to walk through this experience is truly the only way to restore ourselves to a sense of balance and wholeness. The only way out, truly is “through” as much as we might like to find another route.

For more information on therapy services, guided imageries, meditations, classes, and upcoming programs visit Kate at www.kateschroederlpc.com.

Transformation Counseling, LLC
8084 Watson Road, Suite 226
Saint Louis, MO 63119
(314) 761-5310