In talking about Grief & Loss, there are SO many categories that people never think of! It really should not be listed as just losses, but any Major Life Change. And those can encompass celebrations, too. For in every milestone in life, there is a part of us that gets left behind, and we need to be allowed to feel those losses, as well.
When you start a new job, you may have reason to celebrate a new position, a raise, new challenges or that you have left your old job (or unemployment) behind. But that old job may have friends that you are leaving, experiences that are treasured, new skills learned and goals reached. In every beginning, there is also an end.
A marriage is usually a cause for celebration - one would hope! Yet there can be a loss of independence, new boundaries and challenges to work out, or family issues to muddle through. A move may also be part of this equation, which has its own gains and losses to take into account - new patterns and commutes, new neighbors, and forgetting which room you are in! Divorce can be either celebrated or grieved, or both, depending on the situation, and there may be many layers of emotion to work through to unpack all of one's feeling about it.
Retirement can be longed for for decades - yet some people feel a loss in terms of structure, habits, old friends, and these feelings need to be honored in the midst of celebrations. Many folks feel the need to stay useful and often have the most to give in wisdom and effort later in life.
Children are such a bundle of experiences and meotions for most parents, as most of us know! The first child's birth, first day of school, changes in the relationship, leaving for college - in every celebration is a sense of time passing, of an age left behind. If sadness is in the mix, talk it out and honor it - then honor yourself!
Overall, the watchword for friends and family who are going through these changes is, please do NOT say, "Why are you sad? Aren't you happy?" It invalidates feelings and can make someone feel badly for their complex emotions. Some things are just not that cut and dry, and we must allow for that. Rather, ask your friend how they are feeling and to talk about it - listening is often the best medicine.
Humans are messy - we often feel many things at once, and that's just fine. There is nothing wrong with feeling sadness at a happy occassion - honor yourself, express it, share it, write it, process it. You are doing great - keep on keeping on!
If you would like to speak to me personally about the above subject or any topic surrounding Grief, Loss, coaching or healing, click here to set aside a personal Free ½ Hour Empowerment Call. You are not alone.
Claire M. Schwartz
Leading You Back into the Light after Loss