MyMind Counselling Services
 
Grief
 
 
It can be said that life is just one long grieving process. We come into the world and start experiencing loss and slowly but surely our losses become greater till at the end we lose the ultimate loss our own life (For some this is an excruciatingly slow and painful ordeal for others its over in a flash).
So it stands to reason that it is something that would be helpful to understand. Everyone will experience grief and change is the lot of every person.

"Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioural, social and philosophical dimensions. Common to human experience is the death of a loved one, whether it be a friend, family, or other close companion. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss. Losses can range from loss of employment, pets, status, a sense of safety, order or possessions to the loss of loved ones. Our response to loss is varied and researchers have moved away from conventional views of grief (that is, that people move through an orderly and predictable series of responses to loss) to one that considers the wide variety of responses that are influenced by personality, family, culture, and spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. Bereavement, while a normal part of life for us all, carries a degree of risk when limited support is available. Severe reactions to loss may carry over into familial relations and cause trauma for children, spouses and any other family members: there is an increased risk of marital break-up following the death of a child, for example. Issues of personal faith and beliefs may also face challenge, as bereaved persons reassess personal definitions in the face of great pain. While many who grieve are able to work through their loss independently, accessing additional support from bereavement professionals may promote the process of healing. Grief counselling, professional support groups or educational classes, and peer-led support groups are primary resources available to the bereaved." - Wikipedia

Grieving is a process and its best seen as having no rules in the sense of what the grieving person should or shouldn't do or say or for how long etc - grief isn't tidy. Also it is noted that it is possible to be stuck in grief and or be overwhelmed and totally distressed to the point where you need support / counselling. This is known as complicated grief (all continuing - disturbed sleep/nightmares, crying often for no particular reason and or at the oddest times, depressed mood, mind fixated on loss / going around and around, stuck in reverse (stuck in the worst of grief) and getting worse, angry / on edge / explosive reactive, odd - out of character behaviour).
Listed below are some activities that enable the grieving process to take its natural course. Whether your grief is complicated or not these activities still apply.
1. Talk, talk, talk. Tell your story over and over. Find a kind ear and negotiate a time frame and go for it. This is often needed early in the process and less towards the end. If you are fortunate to have a pet then tell them! they can listen endlessly and somehow they understand. Later this would come in the form of openly talking and letting others talk about loved ones or losses in a natural way rather than seeing it as a 'taboo' subject.
2. Try to go to the funeral or memorial service. Children should always be encouraged to go! If you lose a pet then organise your own little service and have all the family contribute in some small way. A memorial helps to 'sum up' the situation. Prayers go a long way as part of this healing process.
3. Write stories or poems or compose songs or music. Or. Draw or paint or construct or stitch or make a garden about what you are thinking or feeling or how you are trying to make sense of your loss. - These are external expressions of the internal hurt. Once they are externalised they can be processed a lot easier. You can talk about them, or even to them, add to them, change them, re-arrange them, compare them etc.
4. Either visit or make some memorial place. This is typically a grave site but could be anywhere or any place - it's just your place where you go to remember, to honour, to pray or simply to be - a special place. Again better outside rather than inside you.
5. Make a point to acknowledge anniversaries in a positive way. The key here is to make them celebrations rather than a heavy remembrance services. A more solomon remembrance time could be included but its best not be made the centre of the day.
6. Treasure mementoes, photos, trinkets etc. and bring them out occasionally. Talk with others about them, tell them about the connection, the stories etc.
7. Take up a new hobbie / interest, be kind to yourself, give yourself a break, enjoy a little self indulgence.
8. Be honest with yourself, if you are stuck, get professional help.
9. Be open with your feelings, cry, sob, weep. This helps in a cathartic, releasing way. Don't suppress or drown your sorrow in drugs, alcohol or demeaning behavioural activity.
10. Don't forget about the ones who still love and need you. There is a time - which differs from person to person - when you choose to turn around and embrace those who remain in your domain, the land of the living.
A common question people in acute grief ask is, 'Will I ever get over this?"
The answer from most of those who have experienced similar losses or who are aquatinted with grief is, "It will always be with you (in the sense that you will never forget) but it will not distress you so. You will be able to function (sleep, work, inter-relate, achieve, love, etc) with in normal bounds all be it in new circumstances." or "It will be OK and different."
Empowering Questions Associated with Grief:
1. "What is the greatest disappointment of your life?"
2. "What's in God's other hand?"
3. "Have you made friends with it yet?" (Make friends with your mind and feelings - yourself - it's so sad not to!)
4. "Do we grieve for the loss 'of others', or the loss 'to ourselves'?"
5. "What is needed for you to survive the loss and go on to enthusiasm and joy?"
6. "What else is need for closure?"