What is grief all about? Grieving is a disorderly process, unpredictable in appearance and manifestations. It is hard work and the steps to and the time it takes to processing it are individual for each woman. It differs in expression, intensity, and time.
Because our society hasn’t (as a whole) taught us about the grief process . . .
- its wide array of feelings,
- its impact on our behaviors and body,
- and the fact that grieving is normal . . .
. . . many women struggle needlessly and far longer than necessary.
People are also afraid of the intense feelings of others. So they change the subject, minimize the feelings and intellectualize the situation. This is done by saying something that appeals to the intellect instead of the emotions.
To grieve well, a woman in pain needs to first acknowledge those losses. Some of these losses could include . . .
- The changed nature of relationships – roles (at home, work, social settings) are now different for the woman in pain. “I think I alienated a lot of people at work … because I was out sick so much …. and others [had to] cover for me” (LS). Sometimes friendships are lost.
- Loss of present income and/or loss of future earning potential.
- Loss of youth, healthy body functions and physical abilities, including clear thinking and use of intellect.
- Spontaneity – Living with chronic pain is hard work and typically everything needs to be planned out in order to manage the symptoms.
- Loss of independence.
- Retirement dreams often must be changed, put on hold or deleted.
- Pleasure – Available time and effort are spent on coping so that fun is often neglected.
- Satisfying Sexual life – Low energy level and interest contribute to this loss. Also the fear of pain can contribute to lack of sexual intimacy.
- Positive future plans – often these are viewed with fear, when time is even given to thinking about the future.
- Self esteem.
- What is a loss you need to acknowledge?
- How can this information help you be a better griever?
- What is one thing you can do to help a woman in chronic pain grieve a little bit better?
- Use the above loss list as a prayer guide.
“Without question [there have been losses associated with my chronic pain]. I am not the woman I once was, I lack the stamina & strength I once had….check that…it is a DIFFERENT strength & stamina.” CS