Rebecca Stone, LMHC
Grief is Like the Ocean
Grief. Like the ocean, it can hit you like waves; and not only in the immediate aftermath of loss. The initial loss (e.g., a person, a relationship, a job, part of your identity) is referred to as a primary loss. This loss often rocks your world for a period of time. Secondary losses are often more unexpected. These are the ripple effects associated with the primary loss, such as loss of companionship, missing the inside jokes you'd share, holidays/birthdays/anniversaries/milestones where someone is absent, and so on. The secondary losses can sometimes create confusion when someone thinks they already "dealt with," mourned, or grieved the primary loss. Some might say you need to "get over it" or "move on." You may even try telling yourself that. The reality is that we just move forward, just as time marches on. We may need to manage our grief with containment or other therapeutic strategies. We may also have to create space where we allow ourselves to continue to grieve as it resurfaces. We have to create a "new normal" where the loss is integrated into the story. It's okay to feel how you feel about a loss and to grieve the way you need to grieve. There's no one right way to do it, and there's no specific timeline to follow. Be gentle with yourself with any losses and make space for yourself to be able to grieve.