By Pattie Slagle
“Good Grief”! While few of us think of grief as good, it is an experience each one of us will encounter at some time. Grief is neither avoidable nor something to overcome. It is a process, not an event. Through grief, and mourning, we work through feelings of loss, reconcile ourselves to the loss, and rebuild our lives without the physical presence of the person or object of our loss. For each person this journey is unique: there is no standard process or timetable for working though grief. Until we go through the grief and mourning process, we can not heal.
Grief is a deep sense of sorrow over a loss. Most often grief’s cause is the death of a loved one or significant person in our lives, but we may also grieve over any significant loss: a pet, job, serious illness or injury (loss of health or lifestyle), end of a relationship, or other significant thing in our lives.
Crying is the most visible sign of grief. It should not be seen as weakness. Crying is a crucial way to release tension and show the need for comfort. While it may be uncomfortable to witness and make us feel bad because we feel that we can’t help the person, but we can; it is important to let the person cry, by being there with a person and allowing them to express their grief through tears it helps them emotionally and physically. Be patient and let the person work through it.
A person, especially a man, who continues to express grief, should not be thought of as weak, crazy, or self-absorbed. Telling them that “crying won’t bring Joe back” or “buck-up and move on” does nothing to help the person work through their grief. In fact it can make it harder as the person not only doesn’t work through the loss, but may also think there is something wrong with them for not being able to deal with grief quickly and quietly.
There’s no timetable or deadline for completing grief. In fact, one never completes grief. Over time, in your head and heart you reconcile yourself to the loss, understanding that the physical presence of the person is done. You remember them and may think of them in heaven, or watching over you, or whatever happens after death, according to your specific religious beliefs. Also you and your family reorder your lives to make a “new normal. Whether done consciously or not, family roles and dynamics change to return to “an even keel”. Remember, you and other family members or grievers are experiencing the shared loss differently and allow for you not to all be in the same place in the process.
If you are grieving, let yourself work through it. Talk to a trusted friend, advisor, or join a grief support group if you need to talk about your grief. See your doctor if you feel too overwhelmed for too long. If you know someone who is grieving, be patient, provide comfort, and don’t be judgmental: be there for them and let them grieve at their own pace.
For more information, or to join a grief support group contact Damon McCoy, Bereavement Coordinator for Coastal Home Health and Hospice at 541-247-7084, 541-469-0405, or 541-332-0273.
Reprinted by permission from Pattie Slagle on 02/01/2012
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