“I feel angry, lost, sad, and relieved.”  Those were the words of a client who had just been fired from a job she really needed but had never enjoyed.  The loss hit her especially hard because she did not see it coming and was unprepared to start another job search.  After we talked for some time about her immediate reaction, we looked briefly at what might be ahead for her.  I knew that her next steps would come, but that rushing into them would not be constructive until she had time to attend to the strong emotions of her grief.

Having been fired from a job myself earlier in life, I had a window of understanding into the fact that the loss of job under any circumstances can be traumatic to most people.  And the range of emotions associated with such a loss is very similar to the responses of someone who is in grief over a death.

I have noticed that few people are prepared to allow their grief when loss happens through everyday life changes, such as:

  • A good neighbor moving away
  • A child leaving home for the first time
  • An accident or life-altering illness
  • A negative shift in a friendship or intimate relationship
  • A failure or deep disappointment

So many experiences can be a trigger to the deep emotions of grief, and all of those emotions deserve some of our attention.  It may be a fact that we do not have much time to adjust to some of the changes in our circumstances, but we can always give ourselves permission to at least talk about them with a trusted friend, counselor, or other unbiased person.  Grief that is addressed cannot control us, because by facing it we give it room to be acknowledged, processed, and released.

Whatever the losses that we eventually experience on Earth, they are all a part of our personal life story.  They do not have to define us nor limit our full and joyous participation in the journey.

I pray you a friend, a listening companion to your life’s sorrows and joys.