Death of a Child
The death and loss of a child is considered the single worst stressor a person can go through: there is a loss of the future hopes and dreams, the memories are harder to let go, and the mourning process is extremely difficult. The loss of a child is not the natural order of life and it is a life long journey to navigate on your own.
Death of a Spouse/Partner
Losing your partner at any time in a relationship can be one of the most stressful losses in your lifetime. Your partner was your rock, your children's parent, your lover, your provider, your travel mate, and the one that you always counted on growing old with. When you lose your partner you also lose your identity as a couple.
Death of a Parent
Your parents have been with you for your whole life and you have depended on them for many things. When you lose your parents, it is a primal loss and you have lost your secure base. A parent can be your most trusted guidance and the ground seems to become shakier.
Death of a Sibling
In most cases, a sibling relationship will be your longest relationship ever. When you lose your sibling, you seem to lose part of your childhood and your history. The loss of a sibling is not acknowledged well by society. Sometimes there is guilt associated with this loss because there could be old rivalry, competitiveness or you could have grown apart over the years.
Death of Pet
For some, a pet is the only member in your household that provides comfort and has always been there to love you conditionally. A pet's death is disenfranchised in our society and therefore difficult to get support for your grief.
Loss of Relationships
Divorce or breakup is considered to be only second in terms of stress to the death of a loved one. This is an often disenfranchised loss and sometimes still stigmatized in our society. For some, the grieving process can be very similar to the death of a spouse but with this type of loss there is very limited support.
With a sudden death you capacities to cope are overwhelmed and you are in shock and disbelief. Your assumptive world is shattered as your life no longer feels safe and predictable.
When a loved one has been diagnosed with a terminal illness for many family members it is also the start of the grieving process. There can be considerable physical, mental and emotional exhaustion before and after the death. As well, guilt can arise for some who also may feel relieved upon their death.
Death by Suicide
Suicide is a traumatic sudden death and unfortunately it comes with a strong societal stigma. Survivors are not supported well which can lead to increased isolation. There is a drive by the survivors to try to understand why their loved one died by suicide. Confusion, blame, shame and anger, to name a few, are involved with this loss.
Death by Overdose
Death by a drug overdose is also a traumatic sudden death and it too comes with a strong societal stigma. Survivors are not supported well which can lead to increased isolation. The uniqueness of death by overdose is due to it's illicit nature. Confusion, blame, shame and anger, to name a few, are involved with this loss because there can be a double death - that is, you lose them when they start using and then again when they die.
Death by Homicide
When someone you love is killed in a homicide it is a violation of everything that is right and fair in this world. This is a senseless, meaningless, and inexplicable act where the survivors demand justice. However during your grief, there is a barrage of interventions from the police, media, and the legal proceedings. In a homicide there is also a societal stigma associated and people feel threatened by the thought that they too maybe somehow be vulnerable.
There are many non-death losses, such as, infertility, post-parental, friendships, career, retirement...and there are many more. These losses all come with some degree of grief that is dis-enfranchised in our society and not well supported. They too need to be acknowledged and validated.