Rethinking grief: The Ball in the Box analogy

An analogy for grief

I recently read a beautiful analogy on rethinking grief by Lauren Herschel on Twitter. Lauren explains the analogy so clearly and really helps people to understand grief around a bereavement. You can find her original Twitter thread here or read this article from The Mighty if you’d like some additional context around the analogy.

It’s helpful to remember that the more significant the loss or change, the more intense the feeling of grief. Bereavement is often the cause of the most intense grief experiences. As I read Lauren’s ball in the box analogy, I realised how well it also served to explain the experience of grief as an expat. I’ve seen examples of grief in expat life time and time again in my work supporting emotional wellbeing for relocation. There is a much more frequent experience of grief, and it’s one of the main difficulties people face when they live away from their home country.

What is grief?

the normal and natural emotional reaction to loss or change of any kind.

As anyone who has lived overseas can testify, frequent loss and change are typical hallmarks of living away from your home country. Even if you stay in one city for a number of years, many of the people close to you will leave and new people will arrive.

How can people process grief?

Grief is challenging to process but there are some guidelines which you may find helpful:

  1. Allow yourself to feel the different emotions associated with grief. Sadness, anxiety and anger can all be caused from loss or change.

  2. Recognise that everyone grieves in different ways at different times

  3. Reach out to the people who are close to you and let them know how you’re feeling.

How I can help

Looking at simple, practical strategies to address the loss and change of the relocation process is a key component of my hello/goodbye programme. Do get in touch if you’d like some support with your relocation experience.