The ‘A’ Word No One Wants to Face in Grief

Letter A sitting on top of desk

What’s the ‘A’ word no one wants to face in grief?  And what’s the ‘A’ word those of us who have been through grief have had to wrestle with, time and again?  Who anticipated so many unexpected surprises, upsets, and fears associated with this word?


The ‘A’ word is … ‘adjustments.’

Grief and loss always bring about countless changes, and to work through grief, adjustments to these changes are necessary.  We were just fine the way things were, thank you very much.  Often we don’t want to change.  Or we’re afraid to make the change.  Or we’re forced to change.  In any case, the changes are not welcome.

Circumstances have changed – and eventually we have to change, too.  Rarely is the transition smooth.

Unexpected Changes

Changes pop up all around you, and some create a domino effect.  Some changes are difficult to understand, such as those attached to relationships.  I never expected these types of changes, but some relationships did change.  

Sometimes people are uncomfortable being around someone who is grieving, and others have trouble confronting the loss themselves.  Even changes in family relationships are not uncommon.  Sometimes families who seem very close and supportive to in-laws, significant others, and to each other as long as a family member is alive – will detach from the griever once their relative dies.  Sometimes friends distance themselves, too. 

Being isolated or feeling abandoned by those we love causes deep hurt in the person who is grieving.   

Possible Changes to Expect

Changes related to:

  • Relationships
  • Finances
  • Responsibilities and roles
  • The present and the future
  • Your identity
  • Priorities
  • Feelings, thoughts, and attitudes
  • Faith and spiritual issues
  • Social life
  • Activities
  • Attitude
  • Physical health

Loss brings instant changes to your life.  Depending on the nature of your loss, the changes may be minimal or wide-ranging. 

Changes and the ‘A’ Word (adjustments)

Of course, being able to accept and cope with unexpected changes takes time and effort.  You may have to overcome fears.  The changes may be difficult for you.  You may be forced to dig deep to tap into reserves of strength you didn’t realize you have until you’re tested. 

Whatever your situation, I believe knowing what to expect helps you to cope. 

Keep an open mind.  Try to remain flexible.  And instead of resisting the ‘A’ word, remember that adjustments are necessary to reach healing from grief.  Understand that the changes are a crucial part of the grieving process that enables you to remap and renew your life after loss.

© 2016 Judy Brizendine

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Additional recommended articles:

Grief and Loss Bring Choices – and You Are not Powerless! – by Judy Brizendine

Grief Brings Change – and You Possess a Powerful Tool! – by Judy Brizendine

Little Things to Do In Adapting to the Death of Your Loved One – by Lou Legrand,

Recognizing Your Own Progress through Grief – from Marty Tousley’s Grief Healing blog

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