Although loss is a normal part of life for everyone people are rarely prepared to deal with it on their own. One characteristic of human societies is that people come together and seek closeness with others in the face of traumatic experiences. Emotional attachment to supportive others is seen by many as the most important protection against feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness. Emotional attachment is probably the primary protection against feelings of helplessness and meaninglessness. Emotional attachment is essential for adults to make meaning out of their existence.
People who have experienced a significant loss need to be provided with social support and external validation of the reality of the loss to be able to integrate the difficult experience. Having limited support in times of deep grief can cause great additional stress in families or groups. When the grieving person or persons are not supported, they may not be able to deal with the loss. Feelings are projected onto others, anger is misplaced or displaced, and people can become quite hurtful to each other. It is not unusual that in the wake of a significant loss families struggle with marriage break-ups, disruptions of family relations, or the result of acting out behaviour such as drinking, drugs, avoidance, or even self-harm.
People who have no or little emotional support might find it useful to seek out professional help from either their Church or through a counsellor/psychotherapist. They will be able to assist the bereft person(s) in resolving their grief and move towards healing.
Grief is the agony of an instant, the indulgence of grief the blunder of a life.
Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881)