Any significant loss can become a problem for our well-being.

We allow those who have lost someone they care about, a little time to grieve. Most companies permit a few days bereavement leave; hardly enough to even begin to care for an important loss, but at least a chance to do “the immediate, necessary things”. If you are shaken from a loss that is not a death, (love loss, job loss, aging, retirement) you will get no time to heal and likely no acknowledgement of your hurt.

Recognition of your pain is important.

The death of someone close to you allows a few days to miss work, show you are upset and even act out of sorts, for a while. You will likely find some sympathy and empathy from others and this provides a window to begin to grieve and a chance to see something important has happened. From here you will need to take time to feel and sort.

Normal will never be back again.

I don’t want you to think this process allows the griever to “be fixed” or become transformed “back to normal.” But it does offer an opportunity to begin to understand what has been taken from you.

Death comes with recognition and some amount of permission, but the brokenness we suffer from other life losses is barely noticed. Losses that go uncared for are central causes of unhappiness, aimlessness and likely even physical or psychological illness. A broken heart or a crushed spirit must be seen as important.

Sometimes the loss can damage us forever.

Some physical and emotional problems may be linked to our inability to grieve our life’s losses. High Blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, heart conditions, headaches, breathing problems and difficulty sleeping are a few places where unresolved grief may linger. Depression, anger issues, anxiety, a history of nightmares, alcohol or drug dependency, just to name a few, may all have their roots in grief unrecognized and unresolved.

When there are important events that cause us sadness that we do not acknowledge, we may be left with unresolved feelings that can haunt us for a lifetime. Unfortunately, we might never make the connection between grief and our physical or emotional distress because the loss we suffered was swept under the carpet of our lives and never looked at as something needing our attention.

-Significant loss needs to be acknowledged and responded to.
-Loss that is not responded to can affect your physical and mental health.
-Our physical and emotional health are equally important and linked together.
-Significant life-losses will have you seeing life differently.
-A broken heart is no less serious than a major illness. Both need care and attention.
-Don’t be surprised if a loss you chose not to deal with lingers and causes difficulty years later.

John Martin is the author of I Can’t Stop Crying, Grief and Recovery a Compassionate Guide and Help Me I Hurt. Both books can be found at

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