Life is always throwing us curve balls, usually in the form of some sort of loss. When we lose a friend, a lover or a spouse, our world of emotional and social connectedness is thrown into disorder. Even a loss that would seem less central to our lives, such as a co-worker dying suddenly in a car accident or the death of a neighbor, reverberates throughout our webs of interpersonal connectedness and affect our lives in more ways than we imagined.
As we get older we experience more and more such losses, not all of them through death. Our support networks can also be disrupted when a close friend moves away, when a rupture of trust occurs in a long-time friendship, or if we or anyone close to us goes through a divorce. However, the loss of a loved one to death is almost certainly the most disruptive of the many losses we are likely to experience.
While loss affects each of us differently, a common thread running through the experience of loss is the fracturing and disassembling of our patterns of connectedness and the consequent need to re-create, reshape and renew our connections with others. The focus of this discussion will be on how we rebuild our sense of connectedness in the wake of a loss.
- What losses in your life have most affected your feelings of connectedness to others or to the world?
- What are the sturdiest connections you have had in your life? Which have withstood the greatest challenges of disconnection?
- Sometimes we need different kinds of connections when moving through a period of grief and mourning. What connections have you found most useful to you during such times?
- What coping strategies helped you the most during a period of significant loss and disconnectedness?
- What steps did you take that helped you rebuild your life and your social/emotional network after a major loss?