Living Loss

Grief is a natural adaptive response to loss. Loss is part of living. As we live, we lose people, places and things. There are many kinds of loss: identity and social roles, relationships, health and mobility, geography, lifestyle, dreams, and more. This post focuses on non-death loss.

Essentially, loss is a process:
Loss = Change = Transition = Adjustment

J. William Worden’s Four Tasks of Grief Model shows how we go through loss related to bereavement of a death. I’ve adapted this model slightly to reflect how we can approach grieving a non-death loss:
Photo courtesy or Morguefiles
  1. Accepting the reality of the loss (Loss)
  2. Working through the pain of grief/loss (Change)
  3. Adjusting to a changed environment (Transition)
  4. Emotionally relocating the loss and moving on with life (Adjustment)

During her videoconference presentation on Demystifying Grief, Dawn Cruchet, Montreal Grief Counselor, said: “One loss awakens another one.” (May 29, 2013). In other words, when we experience a loss, this brings to the fore, other sometimes unresolved losses/grief. Cruchet explained that grief never ends; the feelings just become more bittersweet as the memory moves from raw pain as we adjust to what is.

I’ve experienced this process myself: leaving a long-term relationship. I've also seen the non-death loss with my own clients--leaving job, career, marriage, home, dealing with Alzheimer-stricken family members or their own health decline, empty nest, de-cluttering, and other compelling life transitions, such as burnout and major life events that sometimes occur unexpectedly. The common denominator is change that necessitates learning through mourning a loss and that eventually leads to adjustment and growth. We find new ways of living our lives despite the loss, and sometimes because of it.

What life losses have led you to through change, transition and adjustment? What have you learned about yourself?

Empowerment coaching can help you leverage what you learn about yourself through transition to make sustainable changes in your life. Call: 514-996-2414 for a consultation.


  1. Hi Kelly, You're definitely right. "One loss awakens another" and another and another. I'm still dealing with all my losses and I've learned to talk things out with people like yourself or other professionals, this has helped me a great deal. It may take time, but the journey along the way to healing is amazing and wonderful. Thanks Kelly.


  2. You're right on--talking things out with a professional, as opposed to simply dumping it on a friend (and don't get me wrong, there are times when we need to just dump), helps us to work through our losses so we can learn from them and move forward to embrace joy and love in our lives. Thank you for your shared insights, Dar!


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