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How To Process Grief

Sometimes we are just not aware that we have not processed grief. We know to process grief when someone dies. However, there are other events that happen that we may not be as aware of the need to grieve as we process these events.

In midlife, you find yourself facing multiple events that can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes, because life is so busy, you may not take the time to process grief. If a parent dies, or someone significant, we know to process grief. However, many times other tumultuous events happen and life just goes on. This pattern repeats itself over and over again, especially in midlife. Finally, you are faced with a crisis as you can no longer process your emotions.

If you are lucky, you may be aware of what is going on as you have a midlife crisis. This is a time to reinvent your life. It is time to process your past and look at each of the triggering events.  If you do not process the grief from any of these events, you end up not being able to move forward in your life fully

Grief comes up from any of the following events:

 ~ End of a marriage or a long term relationship.

 ~ Layoff from a job.

 ~ Loss of your home to foreclosure.

 ~ Bankruptcy.

  ~ Diagnosis of an illness such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems.

  ~ Empty nest syndrome.

  ~ Failure of a business.

  ~ Caring for aging parents.

  ~ Death of one or both of your parents.

  ~ Death of friends or siblings prematurely.

  ~ Loss of a pet.

  ~ For women, the onset of peri-menopause or menopause.

  ~ Any major life change.

  ~ Realization that you may never have children.

  ~ Any sort of major life change.

There is a place to grieve for the loss of what you once had no matter how bad it was. It is important to process the grief otherwise it gets stuck in your body and in your emotions and you find yourself reacting in ways that may seem strange. No matter what the triggering incident it, it served a legitimate purpose in your life. Even if you had an abusive parent, they were still your parent and their loss from your life can be devastating.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book called, “On Death and Dying” in 1969 in which she details the five stages of grief.

 ~Denial - “I feel fine.”

 ~Anger - “Why me? It’s not fair!”

 ~Bargaining - “Just let me live to see my children graduate.”

 ~Depression - ”I am so sad, why bother?”

 ~Acceptance  - “It’s going to be okay. All is well!”

A person processing grief does not go through each of these stages in any particular order and usually, processing these emotions feels like a roller coaster ride.

It is important to acknowledge that you are experiencing grief. It is important to get support in the way that is meaningful to you. And please make sure you get to the place of acceptance where you know you are fine and that you have something to look forward to.

If you do not observe the grief process then you stand the chance of creating something new out of your weakness and not from a place of strength. Getting to the place of acceptance allows you to create from a wonderful place of fully processing grief and so your reinvention comes from a powerful platform.

Now that you know the stages of grief, the most important thing to know about grief is this: “Go ahead and experience grief when necessary.” Please know when you are grieving and give yourself the space, time and energy to grieve.


This article is part of a 40 page report by the author on "How to Reinvent Yourself at Midlife and Maintain Your Sanity." If you would like a free copy of the full report, please visit Iyabo Asani is a life and business coach. A former lawyer, she left the practice of law after twenty years and now, she helps empower smart boomers create businesses and attract abundance by discovering the gifts and talents of their Inner Genius.


Mimi Rothschild

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder and CEO of the Global Grief Institute which provides Certification training programs forGrief Coach, Trauma Coach, End of Life Coach, and Children's Grief Coach. She is a survivor who has buried 3 of her children and her husband of 33 years. She is available for speaking engagements and comments to the press on any issue surrounding thriving after catastrophic loss. MEDIA INQUIRIES:

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