Grief is something everyone experiences. While grief often follows tragedies, it also materializes after a variety of life events. Grief is the loss of normal. I heard this from Dr. Brené Brown during an e-course I participated in several years ago. When this statement came up in the e-course, it was in the context of someone dying. The emotional struggle and/or grief experienced by a surviving spouse or family member after their loved one dies centers on the loss of normal. The loved one, who was a part of everyday life and routine, is no longer there to talk to, eat dinner with, plan outings together, sleep next to or the like. Losing normalcy and establishing a new “normal” after a loved one dies is very difficult (understatement).
Divorce causes grief
People going through a divorce also experience grief. Although a death may not have occurred, the spouse is no longer present in everyday life. Traces of the spouse — clothes, the smell of cologne or perfume, college sports memorabilia, the car they drive – are gone. The absence of a spouse once separation occurs can feel gaping and foreign even if the quality or health of the marriage had been poor for some time.
Grief materializes after different life events
As noted above, grief can materialize after different life events. Experiencing grief is not limited to circumstances just involving death or divorce. Across the world, we all have experienced a significant event, namely Covid19. This pandemic has forced many changes in our lives – changes we may not have been prepared for and a lot of changes we do not like. Our “normal” has been disrupted and (temporarily) lost. We may not recognize it or be able to articulate some of the emotions felt during this unusual time, but grief is there.
Acknowledge and recognize grief
Grief is experienced differently by people. There is not a set timetable to measure grief or get past it. However, grief presents itself, do not underestimate it. Remember that grief is the loss of normal. Acknowledging your own grief is a key step in moving through it. Recognizing the grief experienced by others is a true act of compassion.