Welcome to the Loss of Connection Community
Loss of connection is a loss classification that includes a variety of losses, none of which involve the death of a person. Loss of connection is about experiencing pain and suffering due to separation, division, estrangement, or the death of a dream, career or goal. Examples might include relational divorce, breakup, or distancing, or the loss of a job, or loss due to a perceived failure of some kind.
Loss of connection due to societal changes like the recent pandemic are formidable losses. The inability to be with people you love and care about, especially at sensitive or powerful times creates loneliness and deep pain.
A crushing loss for many is the loss of a treasured pet. Our pets are part of our families and companions that bring joy, friendship, and company. They give us a sense of responsibility and thus add meaning and purpose to our lives. Loss of a pet creates strong emotions and feelings of loneliness, abandonment, and emptiness. The loss of a pet community is included in the loss of connection community.
Losses Represented in this Community
Separation from Loved Ones
At no time in history have more people experienced this loss than the previous year. The inability to be within six physical feet of someone we care about has repercussions of emotional pain, especially when we add the possibility of infecting this person we love with a virus that could make them very sick, or potentially take their life, or that this person could pass along a harmful virus to us.
Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles; they are all people we love and appreciate. If like mine, your loved ones have had health problems, the pain of not being able to spend time with them in person is hard. Another illustration of being separated from loved ones is the student unable to join their peers and fellow students on campus. It may be junior high or high school, or a college or university. In the student stage of life our friends are such an integral component of our lives that being deprived of seeing them can feel like being told we cannot see our family.
If not from a virus as with COVID-19 and social distancing, this separation could also be caused by estrangement, a broken relationship caused by personal hurt, a misunderstanding, or a deep difference of opinion. For those who find needed safety and security in being with friends and loved ones, this separation can be threatening. The emotional pain caused by separation of a loved one may come in the form of feelings of loneliness, sadness, emptiness, isolation, and potentially abandonment.
The Death of a Dream
This loss of connection is about seeing a long-term plan or desire come to an end before its completion. Dreams for the future are a human experience and common to us all. We may put weeks and months to years and decades into the fulfillment of our dreams, and when one comes prematurely to an end, the loss is devastating. The intensity of loss may be multiplied based on the time, energy, or sacrifice made for the sake of the dream.
Many find their identity, worth, value, and self-image in the completion of their dreams. Even when dreams come to an end because of forces beyond our control, we can feel like a failure. People in our lives make decisions every day that affect us and are outside our ability to control. These decisions can drastically affect the goals and dreams we have for our lives. A parent can lose their job and become unable to afford the college expenses for their child who will then have to drop out of school. A health condition can develop that prohibits an athlete from being able to compete at the level needed to accomplish the dream of being the best. Falling prey to an addiction to alcohol or drugs, or the development of an eating disorder or mental health condition can destroy the focus needed to achieve a dream.
So many have lost bill-paying jobs in the last year and have experienced the death of a dream that they would not have to sleep on a friend’s couch or move back in with parents. The self-confidence and personal pride of financial independence is shattered when out of no fault of your own your job evaporates.
The emotional pain in this loss can range from confusion, frustration, disappointment, shock and numbness to powerlessness, devastation, hopelessness, anxiety, panic, and fear. The death of a dream brings a search for meaning, asking the “why” questions, and feeling anger with God or a higher power. The shame of having to start over can be devastating.
The Demise of a Relationship
Few people invest in a significant relationship believing it will only last a short time. Most are hoping and praying for a relationship of value, longevity and return on investment. Significant relationships are the those that meet our most basic human emotional needs. Relationships meet needs such as admiration, physical touch, recreational companionship, openness and honesty, communication, financial and domestic support, affection, and sexual intimacy. The ending of one of these significant relationships represents a huge loss in our lives.
Divorce is a common experience representing a loss of connection. Often in divorce our most basic emotional needs were not being met, but sometimes the desires of one partner are not the same as the other partner, and the loss of connection is experienced differently between them. Even if there is tension in a relationship and the couple moves toward divorce, the absence of someone in the house is felt deeply. The hope of emotional and physical needs ever being met dries up and the pain of loss shifts to a new type of pain. Feelings of loneliness, emptiness, failure, regret, and sadness become familiar experiences.
Social media seems to be especially hard on us when we are shunned by our “friends”. School friends can turn on us quickly and shut us out. If you happen to have the unpopular political or cultural view, no matter how old you are, you can be canceled at the tap of a button or the click of a key. One teenage girl in the Denver area took her life during the pandemic when separated from her friends at school, she was bullied by other teens on social media. The loss of connection when relationships disappear can create feelings of despair that seem insurmountable.
One of the most common occurrences creating a loss of connection for many is the loss of a pet. Our pets are members of our family, and while the death of a pet is in a different category than the death of a person, the resulting emotional pain is strong. Pets offer us unconditional love, companionship, and entertainment. With a trusted pet we find meaning and purpose as we care for and love them back.
When our most basic emotional needs go unmet, we suffer greatly. The loss of significant relationships in our lives leaves us feeling exposed, bare, and unprotected. And when several of these losses occur at the same time, the cumulative effect is that the pain grows larger and larger with each loss.
We Grieve Workshops
Grief Workshops are open to all loss communities and are offered on a variety of topics.
Grief Workshops utilize a virtual platform and include teaching and small group, loss-specific breakouts with discussion enabled by a trained community facilitator. Workshops are scheduled for 90-minute sessions meeting weekly for four consecutive weeks.
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