Chapter 3: Grief and bereavement

The nature of loss

People are hardwired to form attachments. We grow attached to our work, our possessions, our routines and activities - and especially to the people we're closest to. These attachments provide us with a sense of safety and security. The longer we live, the more we lose - people we care about, relationships, jobs, pets and possessions. These are by no means the only things we can lose. 

We often grieve when death separates or threatens to separate us from these important people. Living with ongoing loss and grief is an indelible part of life and can challenge our sense of who we are and what our lives are all about. 

Making sense of the world

We're also hardwired to make sense of what's happening around us. We like to solve problems and understand the world. We often struggle when there are no solutions and it's difficult to make sense of life events - such as living without someone important to us. 

The impending death of someone we're close to can threaten the safety and security that attachment provides. It challenges our ability to understand the world without this person in it. Few things are more difficult. 

As we struggle to absorb the reality of the loss, it can be difficult for us to figure out what the loss means to us, and how our world is forever changed. The hardest times of our lives are usually moments when we feel powerless, overwhelmed, alone and confused. The death of someone important to us is likely to be one of those times.