Losing a Loved One: Secondary Losses
Losing a loved one can bring about many unexpected changes. When the deceased is someone extremely close like a partner or family member, the loss brings with it other or secondary losses which impact on the lives of the surviving family members. The personal experience of loss should be looked at individually, as no two people will be impacted in the same way. The following list looks at secondary losses a little more closely.
Losing someone close to you can mean also losing one’s hopes and dreams. The survivor and the deceased had planned futures together which may include dreams such as owning their home, or travelling together in their twilight years. Losing hopes and dreams can be devastating until such hopes and dreams can be replaced with others.
Quite often people lose their faith either temporarily or permanently after the death of a loved one. Statements like “why would God do this to me?” or “life just isn’t worth living” are indicative of someone who has lost either their spiritual faith or their faith in life.
Losing a spouse or partner can feel like losing part of self. The individual does not feel whole as their “other half” has gone forever. The survivor feels lost as he/she learns the new roles expected and adapts to life without their partner. Wholeness can be restored over a period of time.
In cases where a family member dies, the loss of family structure requires painful readjustment. Not only does the family grieve the person lost, but the role that person played within the family. Loss of a father may place financial strain on the family which could result in the mother having to undertake a working role. The loss of a mother can mean childcare becomes a challenge, and possibly additional roles for the father.
Losing a loved one can result in social losses including those of friendships and family relationships. Some people find relating to someone who is grieving quite difficult and therefore step back or avoid the survivor leaving the survivor to feel isolated and alone. In-laws and family members may be reminded too much of the deceased and therefore emotionally withdraw from the survivor.