Ten Things to Know About Grief

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					 Ten Things to Know About Grief                                                               the relationships in your life will be altered
                  Material Courtesy of         3                                              in some way after a major loss, it is
        Victoria Hospice Bereavement Program
                                               Individual differences in grieving             normal to look at, change or, sometimes,
                                               styles                                         end certain relationships. You may find
When you are grieving, it helps to know
                                               Although grief has some definable              that the company of other bereaved
what to expect. Although your grief is
                                               outlines, how you grieve is a unique result    people is particularly comforting.
unique to your relationship with the person
                                               of your personality, your past history of
who died, there are some common
themes. Our staff, volunteers, and
                                               loss, and the relationship that you had
bereaved people identified the ten things
                                               with the person who died. Each person in       6
discussed below as important in
                                               your family will grieve in their own way       Experiences you might have in grief
understanding your grief.
                                               and with their own timetable. To cope with     When you are actively grieving, you can
                                               their grief, some people will openly           feel very different from your usual self as
                                               express the emotions that they experience      your emotions, your mind, and your
Global effect of loss
                                               while others will control their thoughts and   reactions seem unreliable. It is possible
The death of someone very close to you
                                               emotions. Neither of these styles is right     that you are feeling intense pain and
can be a life-transforming event that
                                               or wrong; each can be an effective way         emotions that you have never felt before.
effects all aspects of yourself and your
                                               through grief.                                 You are not going crazy; this is a natural
life. It can feel as if your world has been
                                                                                              part of grief. Responses such as fatigue,
shattered. The grief process is the journey
                                               4                                              forgetfulness and irritability result from
between how things were and how they
                                               Children and grief                             your attention and energy being directed
will be. It is an interior journey, like a
                                               Children look to the important adults in       toward your grief and adjustment to loss.
labyrinth, moving toward central issues of
                                               their lives to learn how to grieve. They are
                                               sensitive to the moods and behaviour of        7
                                               the adults around them and will not talk       Fluctuations in the grief process
                                               about their thoughts and feelings of loss      As you journey along the path of grief, you
Grief is a natural process
                                               unless the adults do. Children are             will find that your feelings and responses
The grief you feel at the death of someone
                                               frightened by what they do not know or         vary at different times and phases of the
important to you is the consequence of
                                               understand, so simple information about        process. There will be unpredictable ups
living and loving, of your meaningful
                                               death and grief is helpful to them.            and downs that may be felt as waves of
connections with others. Grief is a normal
                                                                                              grief or as good days and bad days. It is
part of life and a natural response to loss.
                                               5                                              important to understand and value the
Information about the phases of grief can
                                               Social connections and support                 good days as breaks or rests in your
help you to understand the responses that
                                               When you are grieving you want and need        particular journey.
you experience.
                                               support from others now more than ever.
                                               Due to awkwardness or their own feelings       8
                                               of grief, some people may not be able to       Self-care and what helps
                                               provide the understanding and caring that      There are things that you can do to help
                                               you expected from them. Because all of         yourself at this challenging time. Getting
information about grief can help you to           We have chosen the image of the
understand your responses and your                labyrinth as a metaphor for the journey
journey. Be gentle and patient with               through grief. A labyrinth is not a maze as
yourself as you grieve. Do what you can to        there are no dead ends and no wrong
keep some normal routine for health and           turnings. There is only one way - forward.
social contact. Support may come from a           So it is with grief. The only way through is
variety of sources; family, friends,              forward, with many turns and going back
bereavement groups, chat rooms, etc. If           and forth over what seems like the same                Ten Things to Know
you are concerned about yourself and              territory. We journey to the centre of our
your grief, seek professional counselling         grief, to the centre of ourselves, and then                About Grief
help.                                             slowly return to re-enter the world.

Time for grief
Despite what you may hear about ‘getting
over it’ or ‘the first year’, there are no time   Each person’s experience on the journey
lines for grief; it takes as long as it takes.    of grief will be different. This is a reflection
Often your grief journey is longer than you       of our personal style, our relationship with
or other people expected and you may              the person who died, our internal and
feel pressure to be better than you are by        social resources, and our past history of
now, whenever this is. It is certain that this    coping. As you journey through your own
loss will continue to be part of your life        grief process, there will likely be
and that you will always have times when          unexpected turns and insights.                     HEP
you think about, miss, and grieve for the                                                            Hospice Enhancement Program
person who died.
10                                                                                                   BC Bereavement Helpline
Grief as a spiritual journey of healing                                                              BC Hospice Palliative Care Association
The death of someone significant in your                                                             Living Through Loss Counseling Society
life brings change that puts you on a                                                                White Rock Hospice Society
different life path. Nothing will ever be the
same, yet you must somehow go on and                                                                 A program supported by United Way of
find meaning in the new path before you.                                                             the Lower Mainland
As the journey continues, you may
experience healing and personal growth
as a result of the suffering you have               For bereavement support in your area,
endured and the lessons that you have                call the BC Bereavement Helpline at
learned about what you truly value.                       604-738-9950 or contact the
                                                            Hospice Society below:

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