Clicking links below will open a full window or an informational popup,
so please turn off your browser's
popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit, ad-free Web site. If
This is one of a series of articles supporting Lesson 3 in the
Break the Cycle! self-improvement course. This lesson aims to educate readers
to healthy grieving basics so they can spot and complete unfinished
mourning of major
Many unaware adults and most (all?) kids associate "loss" and "brief"
with death. The reality is that we all form strong bonds to
many physical and invisible things across our lives. When those
bonds break, we need to
This loss-inventory assumes you're familiar with...
- This worksheet aims to help
adults and older children:
is a broken psychological bond with (attachment
to) something of value. That is, a loss is a mental, psychological, and perhaps spiritual
reaction to some precious thing, relationship, activity, dream, or situation that will never be experienced in the same way again.
Identify the specific tangible
(physical) things they've lost,
Identify how the
losses occurred, and...
Judge whether these losses have been, or are being, well
Decide if your
expect skewed results from this loss inventory, and...
you're ready to use
your Self to
If so, begin.
Print one or more
copies of this inventory, and have extra paper and a pen on hand
Get in a quiet, undistracted place, and
allot plenty of
time to meditate as you fill this worksheet out,
Remind yourself that
healthy grief helps you accept
many kinds of loss, not just death;
Expect to learn
something useful from doing this.
Make notes or symbols on this worksheet, and add items to fit your unique situation as you go. Note comments or feelings,
and hilight with colored markers. Make this inventory work for
you're done, go back and rank-order the most impactful losses
(e.g. "1" = most impactful, "2" = next, etc.). Alternatively,
asterisk or circle the most significant losses without ranking.
the inventory below, pause and reflect on your life. Identify the
most important physical things you've lost across the years,
starting with childhood.
Use a copy of
this inventory to guess what precious physical things another person
(like a child, mate, or parent) has lost.
One value of these
two inventories is in becoming aware of
how many things you or another person has lost. Another is becoming
more aware of how you or they have reacted to those losses. So -
get quiet, take
your time, and note your significant physical losses (broken bonds).
Pick a starting point - e.g. early childhood or
a key change in your life.
Choose a non-distracted time and place, and allot at least 30" to do
this exercise. Print this worksheet, or make your own.
Loss column, circle, hilight, and name the cherished physical things you've
In the "Lost How" column, use a symbol for
what caused your physical loss - e.g.
"L" for leaving home
"M" for marriage
"Co" for cohabiting
|"R" for a
for natural disaster
"O" for other reasons.
Get clear on your criteria for judging if grief is "done."
One way to judge this is whether the person demonstrates (vs. says) they have genuinely
accepted a loss on mental,
emotional, and spiritual
acceptance causes behavioral clues like
Use your criteria to decide if you
have (or someone else has) grieved each loss "well enough,"
and put "Y(es)," "No," or "?"
in the Grieved Enough? column for each
If useful, fill out copies of this inventory for each major life
event that caused significant physical loss/es for you or another person
significant life changes don't necessarily cause losses (broken
bonds) - and all losses result from major life changes.