Death of a Loved One by mifei


									                                      Death of a Loved One
                                    How to Help – How to Deal
How can I help an adult friend or family member deal with the death of a loved one?

    Someone you know may be experiencing grief - perhaps the loss of a loved one, perhaps another type of loss - and
you want to help. The fear of making things worse may encourage you to do nothing. Yet you do not wish to appear to be
uncaring. Remember that it is better to try to do something, inadequate as you may feel, than to do nothing at all. Don't
attempt to sooth or stifle the emotions of the griever. Tears and anger are an important part of the healing process. Grief
is not a sign of weakness. It is the result of a strong relationship and deserves the honor of strong emotion. When
supporting someone in their grief the most important thing is to simply listen. Grief is a very confusing process;
expressions of logic are lost on the griever. The question "tell me how you are feeling" followed by a patient and attentive
ear will seem like a major blessing to the grief stricken. Be present, reveal you’re caring, and listen. Your desire is to
assist your friend down the path of healing. They will find their own way down that path, but they need a helping hand, an
assurance that they are not entirely alone on their journey. It does not matter that you do not understand the details, your
presence is enough. Risk a visit, it need not be long. The mourner may need time to be alone but will surely appreciate
the effort you made to visit. Do some act of kindness? There are always ways to help. Run errands, answer the phone,
prepare meals, mow the lawn, care for the children, and shop for groceries, meet incoming planes or provide lodging for
out of town relatives. The smallest good deed is better than the grandest good intention.

How can I deal with the death of a loved one?

    Bereavement is a powerful, life-changing experience that most people find overwhelming the first time. Although grief
is a natural process of human life, most of us are not inherently able to manage it alone. At the same time, others are
often unable to provide aid or insight because of discomfort with the situation and the desire to avoid making things worse.
The following passage explains how some of our "normal" assumptions about grief may make it more difficult to deal with.

Do Not Assume that

    1. Life prepares us for loss. More is learned about loss through experience than through preparation. Living
         may not provide preparation for survival. Handling grief resulting from the death of a loved one is a process that
         takes hard work. The fortunate experience of a happy life may not have built a complete foundation for handling
         loss. Healing is built through perseverance, support and understanding. The bereaved need others: Find others
         who are empathetic.
    2.   Family and friends will understand. If a spouse dies children lose a parent, a sibling loses a sibling, a
         parent loses a child and a friend loses a friend. Only one loses a spouse. Each response is different according to
         the relationship. Family and friends may not be capable of understanding each other thoroughly.
    3.   The bereaved should be finished with their grief within one year or something is wrong. During
         the first year the bereaved will experience one of everything for the first time alone: anniversaries, birthdays,
         occasions, etc. Therefore grief will last for at least one year. The cliché, "the healing hands of time," does not go
         far enough to explain what must take place. The key to handling grief is in what work is done over time. It takes
         time and work to decide what to do and where to go with the new and changed life that is left behind. The
         bereaved need others: Find others who are patient.
    4.   Along with the end of grief's pain comes the end of the memories. At times, the bereaved may
         embrace the pain of grief believing it is all they have left. The lingering close bond to the deceased is sometimes
         thought to maintain the memories while, in fact, just the opposite is true. In learning to let go and live a new and
         changed life memories tend to come back more clearly. Growth and healing comes in learning to enjoy
         memories. The bereaved need others: Find new friends and interests.
    5.   The bereaved should grieve alone. After the funeral service is over, the bereaved may find themselves
         alone. They may feel as though they are going crazy, painfully uncertain in their world of thoughts and emotions.
         The bereaved begin to feel normal again when the experience is shared with others who have lost a loved one.
         Then, in reaching out, the focus of life becomes forward. The bereaved need others: Find others who are

Courtesy of - Raqui Hernandez (Speaker)
Coping with Loss
By: Halina Irving, MS, MFCC

     Although we experience many kinds of losses, the loss of a loved one and the loss of control over our lives caused by
life-threatening illness produce the most intense grief reactions. Unfortunately, we live in a society that has stigmatized the
expression of painful emotions. Emotions that accompany grief—anguish, anger, sadness, and despair—once honored
and recognized as normal, understandable, and appropriate to a significant loss are now feared and viewed as
dysfunctional and inappropriate. We pay a heavy price for this: isolation and feelings of alienation in times of grieving.
Ironically, prohibiting feeling such emotions interferes with the normal process of grief, a process which ultimately heals us
and allows us to go on.

What Happens When We Grieve?
    In grief, it is as if a powerful force outside of our control has propelled us into a foreign land, a new dimension of reality
in which we experience our emotions in such an intense and acute way that we sometimes wonder if we are losing our
minds. The waves of yearning and despair, the anxiety and anger, that buffet us constantly, are hallmarks of this process.
This intense suffering is a normal reaction to loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ well-known outline of the stages of the grief
process—from denial and shock, through anger, bargaining, and depression, and ultimately, to acceptance—has allowed
us to recognize that this is both normal and necessary. Yet, even though these stages provide us with a way to
understand what is happening to us, it is helpful to keep in mind that grief does not move in a linear progression, but is a
constantly moving process that flows forward and backward. For every two steps forward we often take a step backward.
Often when we think we have finally come to believe and accept the reality of our loss, we find ourselves pulled back into
disbelief again. It is through this repeated shifting between the different stages that the pain subsides, that resolution
takes place, and we find ourselves again able to feel that life has meaning.

The Journey through Grief
    What do we need to successfully complete this journey through grief? What do we need to cope with this traumatic
interruption in the continuity of our lives and the wholeness of our person? In the first days and weeks of grieving, we
need a respite from the demands of everyday living and to allow ourselves to be dependent on others. We need to be free
to experience the full range of our emotions and our pain and not to have to act as if nothing has happened. We need the
freedom to express these feelings, either by putting them into words or by crying, screaming, and wailing. We are
fortunate if we have family or friends who understand this need and can allow us to do this. Professional counseling,
spiritual guidance, or a support group may also be very helpful. We also need to review the events and circumstances that
led to the loss and have the freedom to do this, over and over again. This may seem obsessive in other moments of our
lives, but it is normal during grief. It helps us accept the reality of the loss and allows us, through this repetition, to “empty
out” some of our most immediate and acute pain to free some of our emotional energy for healing. In the case of the loss
of a loved one, we need to revisit and remember our relationship. This, too, needs to be done over and over again.
Reviewing our memories allows us to internalize the person we have lost and to integrate our relationship with them. It
helps us to realize that the loved one will always be a part of us and that the relationship will always contribute to who we

   Finally, we need to share our grief with someone who will not judge, blame, or criticize us as weak, out-of-control, or
self-pitying when we express our intense feelings openly. This makes us feel understood and helps us to reconnect with
others. Through connectedness to other people, we can restore a sense of meaning in our lives and heal. When we
complete our journey through grief, we will be able to reinvest the energy that has been bound to what we have lost into
new relationships, activities, and causes. Our lives can take on fresh meaning through the assumption of new roles and
the development of new parts of ourselves. In this way, loss can lead to growth and positive change.

Courtesy of - Raqui Hernandez (Speaker)

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