Today I noticed a sprinkling of new leaves on top of the ones that fell several weeks ago. The smaller yellow and green leaves of the false plum were resting on darkening cherry leaves and deep brown oak leaves, creating a new visual mosaic.
It brought to mind something about grief that I've been turning over in my mind lately:
Loss can layer on previous loss. Sometimes there are so many that they can "stop up the storm drain" of your life.
I had been looking at a photo of my most recent greyhound, who died two years ago. I was wondering why my grief for her hadn't been as deep as I had expected. We had nine years together – the longest of my adopted pets – and had been through thick and thin together (a factor that often leads to deeper grief when a human or pet dies).
Seeing the leaves this afternoon put it into perspective for me. I'd suffered a number of losses within less than a year, each layered on top of the previous one. My mom's serious illness, terminal diagnosis, my anticipatory grief, and then her hospice admission and death. My greyhound's serious illness, terminal diagnosis, my anticipatory grief as I nursed her along, and then her death. And in the middle of all that, I got news that the part-time job I absolutely loved would soon be absorbed into a full-time position for which I was ineligible.
That was a whole bunch of major losses. No *wonder* I had no energy left to mourn Selena when she died. It's like I'd had too much grief at one time for any of it to start dissipating naturally. And I certainly had no interest in digging in and starting to process it! It took months to get to that point, and even now I wonder if I should contact a grief-plumber. ;-D
Layers of grief can be further apart than this example, and still make a big affect on our lives. If they haven't been fully mourned, even deaths or other losses of decades past may be affecting you today.
If you're wondering why life feels dull, or you're noticing that you seem to be grieving less – or even more – than you'd expected for the loss you're facing, consider what other losses might still be affecting you today.
And, as always, let me know if you'd like to explore how I can help you with your grief. I promise you that I'm far better at seeing dynamics like this in my clients than I am in myself!