When I went through the certification training to teach the Grief Recovery Method, I had a personal moment of enlightenment. I discovered that living with loss forced me into isolation. And with each successive loss in my life, isolation become more and more my modus operandi, my way of living life.
I thought I was so clever to analyze the patterns of loss and come up with that revelation, until the instructor pointed out that he had written that on the white board for us during the very first day of class. His comment had gone right over my head, until I stumbled across it by accident while doing my homework.
I didn’t come up with that on my own, but I did live it for decades without realizing it. Now I hear people in my groups come to the same clarity of understanding. Isolation is the most common trait of grieving people. Why? Because grieving people make us uncomfortable so we tell them to get over it, to move on, to get busy, to get a life, to get over it. It doesn’t matter if the griever is dealing with death, divorce, or any of the other seventy-two losses we have on our list, people don’t want to hear it. It makes them uncomfortable to see how close their lives are to that kind of pain.
So grievers end up shunned by society, pushed away by their co-workers who need them to be normal and pulling their weight, ignored by all the people who are busy getting on with things. They learn to live a life of “less than” the way they were before their loss.
What I also learned in my Grief Recovery training is that there are ways of breaking out of isolation. We can see this trait in ourselves and change how we respond to loss and life.
Have you ever felt isolated? Can you trace that feeling back to a loss in your life?