The death of a loved one has a ripple effect like an earthquake has aftershocks—the initial earthquake is the death and the aftershocks are the multiple subsequent or secondary losses that occur as a result of the death.
Aftershocks can come when we least expect them to.
The death of a loved one changes our world physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has only heightened these changes.
There is WORK involved in grieving and part of this work is to acknowledge secondary losses require us to give them their own unique grief responses as well.
The following are some of the secondary losses one might experience after the death of a loved one:
- A loss of identity – we tend to identify ourselves by the role or position we have in a relationship. Death changes this. We lose identity as a parent, spouse, child or sibling.
- A loss of support systems – This includes family members, friends and community groups.
- A loss of “the familiar” or normalcy – Everything changes in some way after a death: your house, routines/schedules, relationships with others (as their relationship with the person who died has changed as well).
- A loss of financial security – There may be increased financial stress if the primary wage earner might be the person who died, or if there is a debt of medical bills.
- A loss of confidence – There is often an inability to feel safe after a death loss.
- A loss of spirituality – Faith can be challenged.
- A loss of health – After a death, our chemical balance changes. Physical problems resulting from emotional stress can be exhibited as exhaustion, nausea, headaches, muscle knots, back problems, balance problems and anxiety.
Naming aloud the grief losses you’re experiencing is a step toward healing. A loss is a loss, no matter how big or small. The grief journey you’re on takes time and patience on the way toward healing.
Please know that you are not alone on this journey. Please know that I’m here for you, too. You can reach me at 210-757-9428 during business hours, or you can email me.