For my final entry my professor asked for a reflection on the class and project. This course was very valuable to me as a student. We learned many different theories of grief, loss, and coping. But what I will really take away from this course is a new sense of empathy. I learned to broaden my definition of "loss" and more readily accept different kinds of grief. I've always believed that one's experiences are relative to their own life. Now I know one's experience of loss is the same and one can only cope with the mechanisms they have available to them, making their experience entirely unique. There is no "right" way to grieve or "right" time to feel loss or not, for that matter. It is our jobs as mental health professionals to help validate our clients grief so that they might begin to heal.
This project was also extraordinarily eye-opening for me. Prior to this class and project, I believed "loss" meant: someone you loved died. What I learned through this project was that the meaning is so much more broad and deep than that. It is, perhaps, almost impossible to realistically define. I also came to value, strongly, the ability for one to find closure. Through my research I have come to discover that the most painful thing, after the initial loss, is the inability to get closure. I am very concerned for the populations I research who are experiencing ambiguous loss or whose grief is disenfranchised. The inability to find closure is, essentially, like reliving the loss over and over and over. Through this research I have come value the research being done with groups of people experiencing ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief. It is integral that this research continue so that we can continue to understand and serve these populations.
In conclusion, I am extremely grateful for this assignment. Not only has it equipped me to empathize with future clients, I feel it has made me a better person. I am far more well-informed on loss now than I was at the beginning of the semester or ever would be without the aid of this class. I even gained a little closure for myself in the process. I urge any one, student or no, reading this to broaden your understanding of loss and grief. Empathy is the first integral step and it will take us miles in the field of ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief.