Regression is the term used for when something happens and we lose the grip on our actual age and slip back to a much earlier emotional age. In grief we may have to ask ourselves; if I didn’t know what age I was what age would I be? It seems to be the case that in grief children progress but adults tend to regress. As a child losing my father at eleven thrust me into the premature role of being the man in the house and having to take on adult responsibilities. When dealing with a significant loss later in adult life I experienced regression and wondered why I was looking at the adult world with teenage eyes and feeling unable to cope. This experience of regression is very disconcerting and may even feel like a breakdown. In a way that is what it actually is. A portion of my earlier life that needed to be shelved at the time, perhaps because it was too painful, can become dislodged by a subsequent loss and when it does it will not disappear until it has been integrated.
Fr Jim Cogley