By David Coy
In one real sense, we are the sum of our experiences, especially in relation to grief and loss. It should and could be different if we as a society prepared our children to know and understand what it means to experience loss. Perhaps we do not do this because we as physical adults are ill equipped and unprepared to deal with it ourselves. We have learned many misconceptions throughout our lives that imbed a slightly skewered view of death and loss. No matter what type of loss we experience, whether property, security or physical death, much of the same symptoms are the same though the circumstances differ wildly. From these misconceptions come a level of unpreparedness to deal with adversity and loss. During these times of new experiences and adversity, we are forced to learn new ways of living much as someone experiencing a first major traumatic loss.
As children we are told do not cry. We are told that crying is a sign of weakness. That our loss often can be replaced, and that we can get a new one. This does not help as crying is a manner of expressing (mourning) how much a person cared and not everything can be replaced, and this also diminishes the value of our loss. We are told to give ourselves time, that time heals all wounds. This also is incomplete; time is valuable, but it alone is just that – time. We must use our time productively and with purpose and value. We are told to behave stoically as expressing emotions is also weakness and we ‘must be strong’ for others. Being real and speaking and walking in truth before others is how we teach to prepare for loss of every kind along with perseverance to rebuild from any loss.
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