How to Overcome
Tragedy and Loss
Has the loss of a loved one, a major physical or financial
tragedy or a global disaster brought your world to a screeching
halt? Are you finding it hard to deal with the emotional
rollercoaster, blaming yourself and feeling anger and helplessness
all at the same time?
Loss from a major natural disaster like the Haiti earthquake,
the genocidal killing of millions due to the politics of war or a
mine collapse killing dozens of minors will make the average person
feel down, depressed and helpless leaving them angry and wanting to
place blame on someone.
Research shows that over 24,000 children around the world die
every day. In the US 1400 people die from cancer daily, 118 from
automobile accidents and someone dies from cardiovascular disease
every 36 minutes. When the number of deaths is high as in an
earthquake or war, it is said that the deaths are statistics, but
when one of those lost is a loved one it is a tragedy, no matter how
the loss occurred.
How Do You Define
Tragedy or Loss?
Loss and tragedy
can be defined as no longer having something of value, the death of
someone or a significant life event that evokes the feelings of
sorrow, grief, financial ruin or fatality. The most intense forms of
grief are usually associated with the death of a loved one but
people also grieve and experience emotional upheaval when facing
some of the following:
Loss of health
Loss of or
inability to find a job
loss of a child
Loss of a close
syndrome when a child leaves home for college or marriage
Death of a pet
Loss of safety
and security after trauma such as a terrorist attack
The significance of the loss tends to determine the intensity
of the grief and the difficulty of the rollercoaster ride. Grief is
not a one size fits all process nor is it processed the same way by
any two people, even if they share the same tragedy. Grief is
processed in many ways depending upon your personality, belief
system, faith and the stressors or life experiences you have gone
through leading up to the loss.
psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying,
1969, there are five stages of grief. They are:
Denial – this
can’t be happening to me - shock and disbelief
Anger –why is
this happening, who can I blame - fear
make this not happen and I will_____ - guilt
I’m too sad to do anything or deal with this- physical and
I’m at peace with what happened
Not everyone goes through all of these stages, but they are
very normal and experienced by many. It is important to realize
there is a process and it takes time. If there was a buildup of time
before the loss occurred such as a loved one going through a
terminal illness, some of the grieving stages will be experienced
during the progression of the illness. Others may be able to process
quickly and go from denial right to acceptance.
There are those that would argue that grief does not come in
stages but liken it more to a rollercoaster ride with all of its ups
and downs. A preferred way to look at it is waves. Because people
definitely go through some type of a grieving process, the one thing
that is most bewildering is that grief will wash over you in waves,
often at the most unexpected and inappropriate times. There are also
variations in the depth and time duration of those grieving waves.
However, as time passes the waves will get separated by more time,
come less often and be shallower.
Five Things That
Help You Better Navigate the Grieving Process:
In the field of Feng Shui creating positive energy in
your surroundings is the first step to taking control of your life
and creating calm and peace where chaos and loss now exist in your
world. A loss or a life tragedy takes you out of your comfort zone
and requires you to build a bridge back to your new comfort zone
where your acceptance of loss lives. Some of the steps below will
help you create that bridge and successfully cross to a future that
accepts the changes and provides you the tools to move forward.
1) Create a mini
of strong encouraging family members and friends – then talk and ask
them to just listen. In real estate it’s all about location,
location, location. In the grieving process it’s all about talk,
talk, talk. Do not grieve alone. Sharing your grief with others
helps to make grieving easier for you. The support group needs to
help you stay self-sufficient, be patient with yourself and express
your grief - the more you talk about the loss the more grief you
release, like a pressure cooker that lets off steam. They cannot
read your mind so it is important for you to take the lead role and
Seek out support from your faith,
external and internal. If you are active in a church or
synagogue, get in touch with one of their counselors so you can
receive their spiritual counsel as well as their professional
advice. There may be more emotional issues hiding beneath the
surface that will come to light when dealing with loss. Read the
Bible or if you are not of a specific faith, read short motivational
stories and books to encourage your mind to seek a better tomorrow.
painful reminders of the past
that are directly connected to your loss. Some may argue that you
shouldn’t do this for at least six months but if your objective is
to move forward and surround yourself with positive energy that will
help you create the future, you need to remove the major reminders
as soon as possible. Those are the items that will remind you
constantly of your loss and the pain you are feeling. Then, create
two lists using something simple like a yellow tablet. On the first
list write everything you do not want to remember about the loss.
This list could be very long if you just lost your father and for
years you had a less than desirable relationship with him. Keep
writing until you cannot think of one more thing to add. Then shred
or burn the list and remove those old thoughts from your mind. On
the second list write everything positive and good you want to
remember about the loss – the ways you helped each other, took care
of each other or just knew they were always there in case of need.
Even the smallest of things can go on the list such as a special hug
or sharing ice cream.
Create a memories box
with pictures and favorite things of your loved one such as a pocket
watch, a handkerchief, a ball or book. By putting this collection
together you will always have the best of memories that carry the
most positive energy nearby to relive and enjoy at a moment’s notice
but they will not be in sight to add to your grieving time and pain.
If it is not too painful for you, your favorite picture of your loss
or loved one can be left out in the privacy of your bedroom where
you can acknowledge the good times spent together. More than one
picture focuses energy on the loss and grief rather than looking
forward and healing.
5) Take care of
This step is overlooked by many and can further complicate an
already difficult time in your life. The grieving process is mostly
emotional but can quickly turn into a physical problem because of
the stress, lack of eating, eating too much, fatigue, insomnia or a
variety of other challenging health issues. Take time to breathe
deeply, sleep more than the usual hours and eat regular meals but
don’t overeat. Exercise, meditate, pray, journal and do creative
things like painting, sculpting, knitting, sewing and needlework to
help you process your grief. Listen to classical or peace-filled
Feng Shui type music to nurture your inner self.
The process of grieving a loss or tragedy simply requires you
to put one foot in front of the other and building the right bridge
for you to get you back to a new comfort zone so you can create the
future you want. Don’t let others tell you how you should or should
not feel or how long you should grieve. Let your body and your
emotions be your guide.
Also, be aware that at times in the future, events called
“grief triggers,” a wave of grief or sadness could overcome you.
These usually happen during the holidays and birthdays but can be
triggered by a memory, seeing a child playing on the beach or
looking at a family member with tears in their eyes. These are the
times to look through your memory box and replace your sadness with
fond positive energy memories.
By building a bridge to your future and creating your new
comfort zone one step at a time you will reach the acceptance stage
and realize you are at peace with your loss.
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