When you open yourself to love, you open yourself to loss. When you suffer the loss of someone you love, you experience the painful emotion we call grief because it's a natural response to loss. Yet, to the person going through this afflictive emotion, the experience feels overwhelming because death is a direct blow to our souls.

I would like to help you understand that going through this painful emotion means it is a process, not an event. And, depending on the personal connection you had with the person, it is very individual and can be a long process. And yet, the grieving process itself is universal: we feel sad when we experience loss.

Because we will all suffer loss as part our life's journey, we all need time and spiritual healing. But our world wants us to hurry up and get on with things. This expectation - whether from society or people in our lives - doesn't work with the grieving process because loss, as love, is embedded deep in our souls and cannot and should not be rushed.

When someone you loved has died, your life feels different because it is different. In your grief process you will long for the person. If you have lost a beloved child, your grief will go on and on and you will need to find additional support in your life to survive.

When we are grieving a loss, we often feel we want to be alone and we pull away from others. This detaching isolates us more and increases the loneliness of loss which can move our grief into a depression and then, worse, into despair. That dark hole of despair is much harder to climb out of and much more difficult to manage than grief which is hard enough to bear.

So, don't go it alone. Remember what Winnie the Pooh once remarked, "You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." Here are some suggestions to get you out of your corner of the forest:

One Share your pain with compassionate family members and friends.
Two Talk with a rabbi, priest, minister or person of faith.
Three Find a counselor who understands loss personally and clinically.
Four Nourish you body, rest frequently, exercise moderately.
Five Commit to volunteer somewhere.
Seven Receive hugs from comforting supporters.

Today I've focused more on the loss of someone to death. In a future article I'll address other kinds of losses. In the meantime remember: it takes great courage and work to survive your shattering losses and your grief is testimony to the love you were able to give.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S.,Cert. Group Psychotherapist
Grief and couple specialist for 31 years. Available in person or by phone.
Author of When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life,
Simple Abundance Press, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Publisher
Foreign Rights: St. Paul's and Better Yourself Books, Mumbai, India