When we hear someone is grieving, we tend to think it is the result of loss brought on by the death of a loved one. But there are other losses that cause people to suffer grief.
There is loss of health that can paralyze one’s independence and quality of life. There is the loss of employment that can not only drain one’s financial stability but tear apart the fabric of the family life. And then there’s the loss of a relationship brought on by permanent separation and divorce.
With approximately half the marriages ending in divorce, we tend to think that grief of this kind is common and so, no big deal. But to most, it is a big deal and in some ways this grief parallels that from the loss of a loved one.
For instance, when we mourn a death, we are saddened for what we no longer have with the individual no longer with us. Isn’t that the same with divorce? What could have been or should have been will not be. Also, separation and divorce can leave one physically and psychologically exhausted. The result from this emotional roller coaster can be other losses, such as loss of appetite, confidence, sleep, health and concentration. In addition, there can be the loss of contact with children and family members. And like grief associated with death, we need to find a way to get through what we need to get through.
So if grief by divorce is similar to grief by death, then some of the same methods may be used to get us through the closure of a relationship.
At a time of loss, professionals encourage us to stay close to family and friends, stay active and take care of our own well being. Under the category of taking care of yourself, I want to remind you that one of the best things you can do to help you through a change in life style is to surround yourself with music.
Over the last generation, music has gained much more acceptance during end of life care and for comforting the bereaved while they navigate through grief.
But music is not often associated with treating divorce patients. We may notice the guy at a bar mumbling along to, “Love Stinks” on the jukebox while in the adjoining room a woman screams, “I Will Survive,” into a karaoke microphone. Popular songs are often used to express the hurt, sadness, frustration, anger and philosophy of a once forever love now gone forever.
Though this can help, music can also be therapeutic and healing just like it is when someone is grieving loss due to theft of life.
As someone who has recently separated from a woman I married 24 years ago and a writer of healing music, I personally experience the blending of these two realities as I work through my own life changing event. I find one of the best times to play music is when I’m alone, when the silence is most deafening. I’m sure you agree these are the times when we may be the most vulnerable to loneliness which can bring on depression, anxiety, anger, fear and hopelessness.
Listening to music when you are alone is like having a close friend stop by to visit. Suddenly the silence is removed from the room. And there’s activity. You don’t feel all alone. Your attitude changes because the air doesn’t feel as thick and the ambience is lighter. You feel better when you are around music. But this is nothing new to you. You’ve watched music work in your life before. You know the power it has to comfort and strengthen as well as inspire and motivate. And when we focus our attention solely on listening to it, it is a sturdy companion that temporarily diverts attention away from heartache. The result is we heal a little bit more.
I’m not sure there’s an all encompassing “best” type of music to listen to when healing a divorce or any grief situation. Similar to reaching for the right medicine to clear up an ailment, it depends on what you need at the time you need it. So the choice in music is up to you. The only requirement is that the music brings you pleasure.
Some people experiencing difficult, stressful conditions want to relax the body and mind. Consequently the best medicine for them is slower music. They enjoy listening to music that is leisurely, less rhythmic. This slows down the body and the result can be reduced muscle tension, anxiety, depression and witnessing a slower heart rate.
On the contrary, other people enjoy the energy and exhilaration provided by faster, up-beat music. People in contact with this music, get lost in its rhythm and it raises the metabolism of their body and spirit. The result is some temporally forget about their situation.
Either way, music can be an all natural drug that offers these and other health benefits.
For those going through separation and divorce, grieving is necessary for growth to a happier life and possibly a more fulfilling relationship with someone else. Like suffering from the loss of a loved one, which in a way you are doing, it requires time, patience and healthy choices in life style. Using music can be one of those choices that will heal and restore you to wholeness again. Music can help you get through what you need to get through. And in the words of the Irish rock group, U2, music can help us move towards, a “Beautiful Day.”