Why do people seem to need to talk when they are going through a significant loss? As I said last week, one important reason is that we need to try to put our world back together. When our relationships have been dismembered, we need to find a way to re-member them so that they can continue to exist in us as part of who we are without creating too much dissonance.
But, it is more than that. Talking things out and telling the stories of our life and our loss is also about rediscovering meaning in life. When we lose someone or something significant, we lose touch with the construct of meaning that we have created. When we were in relationship with certain people and played a certain role in that relationship, our meaning was wrapped up with the existence of those relationships. When they end the meaning we made of our life is challenged. "Did my life really mean what I thought it meant."
And we remember and talk our way through the loss because we also try to figure out what our life will mean in the future. By telling our story, our life and our loss, we try to stay in touch with what we know about ourselves. As we rehearse my life, we discover things about ourself that we think are worth developing in our future.
At it's core, this remembering and meaning making is about reconstructing faith. We place our faith in that which helps us know how we relate to the world and what we mean to ourselves and others. This is why these losses often produce a crisis of faith. "Can I really trust that life is good, or that God is good?" "How does God really interact with this world?"
This is why it is so important that we find good companions who will pull up a chair and patiently listen to our rehearsal of our life. The re-membering of who we are and the re-constructing of meaning and how we relate to the world around us is hard work and requires all the love and support any of us can give.