Ten Things to Know about Grief
Your grief is unique to your relationship with the person who died. These are some common themes that many people experience.
1. Death can affect all aspects of your life
Grief is a life-transforming event. It can feel like your world has been shattered. The grief process is the journey between how things were and how they will be.
2. Grief is a natural process
The grief you feel is the consequence of living, loving and your meaningful connections with others. Grief is a normal part of life and a natural response to loss.
3. Individual differences in grieving styles
How you grieve is the unique result of your personality, your past history of loss, and the relationship that you had with the person who died. Each person will grieve in their own way and with their own timetable. To cope with their grief, some people will openly express the emotions that they experience while others will control their thoughts and emotions. Neither of these styles is right or wrong; each can be an effective way through grief.
4. Children and grief
Children look to the important adults in their lives to learn how to grieve. They are sensitive to the moods and behaviour of the adults around them and will not talk about their thoughts and feelings of loss unless the adults do. Children are frightened by what they do not know or understand. Simple information about death and grief is helpful to them.
5. Social connections and support
When we grieve we want and need support from others. Some people may not be able to provide the understanding and caring that we expect from them. Because all of the relationships in our lives will be altered in some way after a major loss, it is normal to look at, change or sometimes end, certain relationships. Often the company of other bereaved people is particularly comforting.
6. Experiences you might have in grief
When you are grieving, you can feel very different from your usual self. It is possible that you are feeling intense pain and emotions that you have never felt before. You are not going crazy; this is a natural part of grief. Responses such as fatigue, forgetfulness and irritability result from your attention and energy being directed toward your grief and adjustment to loss.
7. Fluctuations in the grief process
As you journey along the path of grief, you will find that your feelings and responses vary at different times. There will be unpredictable ups and downs, good days and bad days. It is important to understand and value the good days as breaks or rests in your journey.
8. Self-care and what helps
There are things you can do to help yourself at this challenging time. Getting information about grief will help you to understand your responses and your journey. Be gentle and patient with yourself. Do what you can to keep some normal routine for health and social contact. Support may come from a variety of sources; family, friends, bereavement groups, or chat rooms. If you are concerned about yourself, seek professional counseling.
9. Time for grief
Despite what you may hear about ‘getting over it’ or ‘the first year’, there are no time lines for grief. It takes as long as it takes which is often longer than you or other people expect. You may feel pressure to be better than you are by now, whenever this is. It is certain that this loss will continue to be part of your life and that you will always have times when you think about, miss, and grieve for the person who died.
10. Grief as a spiritual journey of healing
The death of someone significant brings change that puts you on a different life path. Nothing will ever be the same, yet you must somehow go on and find meaning in the new path before you. As the journey continues, you will experience healing and personal growth as a result of the suffering you have endured and the lessons that you have learned about what you truly value.