How To Deal With A Great Loss

Have you ever suffered a great loss? Most people have at some point in their lives. You may have lost the perfect job, a big investment, or even a loved one. How do you respond? What do you do? There are healthy and unhealthy ways to deal with loss. Let’s focus on the healthy ways.

woman-1006100_1920 How to deal with a great loss: Photo of woman with head in hands

I’ve suffered a few losses in life. I lost part of my childhood as the victim of an extreme religious cult. I lost my firstborn child to birth defects. I watched my marriage disintegrate due to my former wife’s severe case of obsessive-complsive disorder. I’ve watched my dad and several good friends pass. You might say I’ve been through many great losses. Many of us have. If you haven’t, you’re fortunate. But the time will come.

How Would You Deal With A Great Loss?

There is not a specific way to deal with loss. People deal with loss differently. One thing you don’t want to do is let the loss send you down a path of destructive behavior. If you want to keep life simple, you need to understand positive ways of dealing with loss. Here some of the things that helped me through hard times.

5 Ways To Deal With Loss

  1. Give yourself time to accept the loss: When we lose something or someone we love, it can come as a shock. Our first reaction is often disbelief. That’s okay. Grief is a process. It takes time to reach acceptance. Sometimes people tend to push grief into a closet. Don’t do that. Let yourself grieve. Take the time you need to accept the loss.  
  2. Know that it’s okay to cry: My grandmother made me promise her that I wouldn’t cry at her funeral. I lived 3000 miles away when she died, so I didn’t make it to her funeral. But I still cried. Too often we’re told that we need to be strong and not cry. Men are especially expected to be pillars of strength during hard times. It’s okay to cry. Crying is a natural reaction to loss. Crying helps to relieve pain and stress. So go ahead and have a good cry.
  3. Give yourself permission to let go: When we lose something we’ve worked hard for, we often keep holding on. When marriages end, one or both parties often blame themselves. It’s okay to let go. That chapter is over. Don’t beat yourself up over a situation that has already ran its course. 
  4. Create rituals: After I lost my firstborn daughter, I found that rituals can be healthy ways of letting go. I used writing as a means of dealing with the loss. I burn a candle each year on my Angel’s birthday. I travel to her grave in Missouri most every year. These rituals have helped me find peace.
  5. Be good to yourself: Finally, don’t start down an unhealthy road. Make sure to take care of yourself. Eat right. Sleep. Don’t drink or use drugs as a way to numb the pain of the loss. Take time for yourself, but don’t become isolated. If you’re not good to yourself, your health may suffer. That’s the last thing you need during the time of a great loss.

Always Be Ready For The Unexpected

If you want to keep your life simple, you have to be ready for the unexpected. You have to be ready to deal with great loss in a positive way. It’s not easy to lose something or someone you love, but if you don’t keep yourself healthy through the grieving process, life will become even more complicated.

I hope this post has given you some insight into how to deal with a great loss. If you’d like to read more of my posts, I invite you to check out the archives by clicking the link below:

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4 Comments

  1. I know some who isolate themselves socially for sometime after death of family member or close friend. Withdrawing for a time is up to each person.

    1. I just shared this on Facebook after we lost our step-father. This is one of those articles that will keep helping me each time I suffer a loss. Glad it was comforting to you too, Beth.

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