Grieving one loss can be overwhelming, but grieving multiple losses can feel almost impossible to bear. Mourning multiple losses is often referred to as cumulative grief, and can include different kinds of loss. Whether you are grieving multiple deaths, a divorce, the loss of a job or home or the death of a beloved pet, you may be experiencing cumulative grief.
During times like these, it’s important to take care of yourself. Give yourself time and space to heal. Remember that you are not alone, and healing is possible – even when grieving multiple losses.
If you are grieving multiple losses, you may find yourself feeling exhausted. Many people also experience anxiety and loss of confidence, or the resurfacing of grief from a previous loss.
For others, grief for one loss or tragedy is delayed because it’s simply too much for their mind to process all at once. It doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you are not grieving for everything you have lost. It just means your body is protecting you from having to deal with everything all at once. In fact, dealing with one aspect of your grief at a time is something that many experts recommend.
Grief as Room
Processing one aspect of your grief at a time after multiple losses can be helpful, as it gives you space to truly process each loss. Otherwise, it’s easy to become lost and overwhelmed in your grief.
Skylight.org suggests thinking of cumulative grief as a messy room. When you first walk inside the room, you may quickly become overwhelmed by the stacks of books, piles of clothes and dust on the floor. The thought of cleaning it all might feel impossible. But if you start with one small area or task and devote your energy to it alone, the room will begin to feel more manageable.
Grieving multiple losses can happen much in the same way. If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of working through everything you have lost, try to focus on one thing. Allow yourself to mourn one piece at a time, and process only what you feel capable of processing each day. Don’t push yourself to heal overnight.
As with any type of grief, mourning multiple losses can feel isolating. You may feel as though nobody understands what you are going through.
Even though only you can understand what you are feeling, leaning on others, from friends to professional help, is an important part of healing. Start small, if you need to – even just talking with a trusted friend for an hour can help you feel less isolated. Don’t worry about being a burden to others, or weighing them down with your losses. More than likely, your friends and family are worried about you and will be relieved to check in.
If you find over time that you are still struggling to come to terms with your grief, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for help. Many therapists specialize in grief and can offer helpful tools for processing your emotions. Support groups are also a helpful resource to connect with others who are grieving similar circumstances.
Cumulative grief can feel impossible to overcome, but as with all grief, you will begin to heal with the passage of time. Processing your grief in a healthy way will allow you to mourn what you have lost without letting it dictate your future. Whether you are grieving one or multiple losses, Bevis Funeral Home is committed to helping you through this difficult time. Whether you need resources or online counseling services, you are not alone. Click here to access our Grief & Healing resources.
If you are having thoughts of suicide or know someone in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.