Loneliness created by grief
By: By Don Harold Lawrence
A widow said to me, “One of the greatest battles I am fighting is loneliness. The most important person in my life is now gone.”
Loneliness is a common phenomenon in grief and a natural consequence of loss. Bereaved persons can feel lonely even in a crowded room.
People with whom we frequently interact in the ongoing experiences of life play a vital role in our life. They are a source of love, security, stability, meaning and fulfillment. They are important in the flow and forward movement of our life. Our life is grounded in these close personal relationships with individuals who help us feel alive and experience life in its fullness. Thus, we are who we are, in part, because of our relationships with other people.
When someone we love dies, it affects our entire being — physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. The more personal and meaningful the relationship, the more dramatically we are affected by the death of that person. Our life is disrupted and chaotic. We are disturbed, distressed, out of sync, wounded, out of balance and off-course. Our normal routine, rituals, habits, practices and schedule are thrown “out of kilter.” It is sometimes difficult to sleep, eat, and function in the normal daily routine. We may have persistent blue moods accompanied by episodes of uncontrolled crying.
Bereaved people choose to react either negatively or positively to loneliness created by grief. Those who choose to react negatively “get stuck” in anger, self-pity, self-reproach, and low self-esteem, a feeling that life is futile, that they are repulsive and not worth being loved.
Those who choose to react positively view their loneliness as an opportunity to take an honest look inside and examine their life, thoughts, feelings, values and aspirations. This positive approach engenders a new love and appreciation for one’s self and the gift of life, a new self-awareness and self-confidence and a deeper relationship with God. This can be an important time for new growth, discovery, and personal development; a time of new beginnings, new adventures, and new relationships.
Bereaved people have found the following suggestions to be helpful in dealing with grief and loneliness created by grief: (1) Share your thoughts and feelings with a person you trust. (2) Eat nutritional food. (3) Get regular exercise. (4) Monitor your feelings and moods. (5) Take charge of your life and use your bereavement as a time of learning, growth and self-discovery. (6) Make new friends and cultivate new relationships. (7) Attend a grief support group. (8) Develop a personal program of recovery that is right for you.
Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is www.shackelfordfuneraldirectors.com.
Published in The Messenger on 10.11.07
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