Adelaide Books 978-1954351783
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Naming Losses

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

When you lost your loved one, you didn’t just suffer one loss. Each death contains multiple losses to be grieved. You can think of each thing you loved about someone as something you’ve lost and are now grieving. You can also think of each of your future dreams as losses as well. Your grief is a mirror image of all your love and all of your hopes. To help you grieve, it’s important to acknowledge the particular details of what you’ve lost.

Your losses might include practical things, such as losing the person who you talked to over dinner or the person who paid your bills. Your losses might include the loss of plans for the future, such as dancing with your father at your wedding or throwing a ninetieth birthday party for your grandmother. Your losses could include the unique roles your loved one played in your life, such a friend you could talk to honestly about your feelings or the brother who remembers your childhood.

The death of a loved one might include a role change for you, from being a spouse or having a best friend from childhood or being one of three siblings. Your loss could include abstract ideas, such as the loss of trust in others or the loss of the belief that life is basically fair. Finally, you could have lost hope for change or an honest connection with your loved one. This is often the case when parents die and children have never felt seen or heard for their experience.

Think about, or write about, all of the different things you’ve lost. Think about the past, present and future. Think about concrete things and abstract ideas that the person represented in your life. Thinking about these will make your grief more specific and will help you mourn what you have lost.

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