Mmegi Online :: Dealing with a major loss
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Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Dealing with a major loss

One experience that is common to all human beings is experiencing a major loss. A major loss is any experience that destroys a significant piece of what makes our lives normal.
By Correspondent Wed 12 Nov 2014, 13:07 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Dealing with a major loss








It could be the death of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of innocence through rape or relocation to another place. Like all the other years, this year has not spared us the pain of losing our loved ones. The emotional pain that comes with a major loss is beyond words. It often leaves us worrying about how we are going to put together a life that is definitely different, but equally meaningful.

Therefore, no response is more appropriate and immediate than grief. Contrary to modern day belief system, grief gives us the power to acknowledge our vulnerabilities and seek help and support from those who care about us. The world around us is on a marathon and in most cases, it will act as if we should be back and functioning as though nothing had happened in a matter of days or some weeks at the most. Focusing on how fast we should heal can only add to our anxiety, hence delay the healing process.

Below are some pitfalls to be mindful of when dealing with a major loss:

Denial:

Statements such as “I am okay,” “I can handle this, life goes on” can be self-defeating in that they can rob us of opportunities to get the external support we need from our significant others. Grief is not an escape route, it is a simple confirmation that we need support from our significant others so that we get a chance to recharge and get ready to move on. When we deny ourselves a chance to grieve, we also deny ourselves the momentum to move on with our lives.

Escape:

It is easier to avoid facing the realities that come with a major loss but it is not helpful to do so. We are living in an era of quick solutions and it has never been more tempting to avoid experiencing pain than it is now. In an attempt to bring quick solutions during grief, some people resort to instant mood altering substances ranging from over the counter pain killers to strong alcoholic drinks and hard drugs. Remember, Rome was not built in one day. I can imagine the physical and mental demands the brick layers who were involved in the construction, had to put up with. Similarly, moving beyond grief need not necessarily be as fast as lightning. It is a gradual process worth patience and determination.

Others develop the tendency to spend as much time as possible in the company of people who do not necessarily add value to their lives, in order to avoid facing the realities they

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are confronted with. Unfortunately, this lot escape into the risk of being taken advantage of emotionally, financially and in some cases physically. I know of somebody who was going through a difficult time, and invited the company of somebody who called himself a “servant of God” to her house, only to be raped by this particular stranger.

Playing blame game:

Taking responsibility for the risk factors that follow the death of a loved one or any other major loss is not easy. In order to defend their comfort zone, some people choose the easy way; to blame others for destroying their pillar of strength.  

Lately, there has been a lot of street and office talk about the death of Orlando Pirates and South Africa goal keeper, Senzo Meyiwa. Some people have been so intensely charged and blaming Kelly Khumalo for Senzo’s death. What they are missing is that no matter how much they blame Kelly, she will never bring back Senzo. Playing a game blame over a major loss does not bring any direct benefits. It only creates negative feelings of bitterness.  Having unreasonable expectations of yourself:  There is nothing unrealistic than trying to fit into somebody else’s shoes. Remember that we do not wear the same shoe sizes. Putting ourselves under too much pressure to fill the gap left by a deceased person is self-defeating. Instead of filling somebody else’s gap, we need to find our own strengths and work on them. Things do not always turn out to be as bad as we anticipated them to. Most of the time we miss a chance to see the love that is surrounding us because we get carried away with anxiety.

Believing that our current feelings about our major loss will never change:

It is important to note that we can get through every major loss without being destroyed. Those who read the bible will remember that Job had to endure some major losses, without being destroyed. He kept an “it is well with my soul” kind of  attitude. This does not mean Job did not experience grief over his major losses, it simply means he managed to remain hopeful in the midst of adversity.

Here is a golden rule: the mind is in its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven, John Milton.

We too, can create a heaven of what we perceive as hell, out of hope.


VICTORIA SEIKETSO SETHIBE

*Are you finding it difficult to cope with a major loss? You can contact me at 71443707, for enquiries or comments.

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