I am just beginning to explore this topic. After listening to the What’s Your Grief podcast on the topic I was writing down some of the secondary losses. The more time that passes the more secondary losses I notice. But what does this mean?
In my case the primary loss is the death of my husband. But there are all the small things, the nuances, the people who surrounded us as a couple, the friends who simply don’t know how to handle grief, etc that may also become losses. Here is a great picture from www.whatsyourgrief.com that helps to show what we are talking about. Considering making your own list of secondary losses because it is important to also grieve these.
- Loss of my best friend/ my person/partner in crime
- Loss of my confidant
- Loss of the feeling that you knew your spouse (specific to a suicide or if you uncovered journals that was contrary to how you knew him in life)
- Lost of trust (in your own ability to judge people, yourself, spouse who left you, friends)
- Loss of memories (especially if you had a trauma and the good ones are gone)
- Loss of a travel companion
- Loss of security as I am constantly alone in everything I do and in the night-time
- Loss of our coupled friends who do not know how to handle me alone now
- Loss of my identity as wife and a reason to hold his last name
- Loss of his side of the family (parents and siblings) as they have no tie to me anymore
- Loss of confidence in myself because of how he died even though I know he was in pain
- Loss of relevance now that there is no one for me to love, care for, cook for, clean for
- Loss of all dreams of the future because they were tied to us growing old together
- Loss of faith
- Loss of the idea of having children at my age
- Loss of our dream house/pool that we just moved into
- Loss of help with the 5 animals I keep alive
- Loss of help with the man stuff around the house
- Loss of things that represented him around the house as you start to go through his things
Some are of course more important than others, some have a ton of impact, some do not. Some of these things can be as hard to grieve as the primary loss or wrapped up so closely into it. I have a feeling this is a post I will add to. This list is still probably being developed at this point. The reason it isn’t done is to be honest I did not think about the secondary losses in those terms until the podcast.
Consider taking a listen now.