Grief and Loss

Certified Grief Resource Provider

Throughout the course of our years, we all experience a loss at some point in our lives. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 5 children will experience the death of someone close to them before 18 years of age. Feelings of grief and loss are not always associated with death, however, but commonly surface after a loss of some kind – whether it is the loss of a loved one, a severed relationship, a pregnancy, a pet, or a job.

When a person loses something or someone valuable to them, feelings of grief can be overbearing. Grief can leave a person feeling sad, hopeless, isolated, irritable, and numb by affecting them mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s important to understand that healing from grief is a process and everyone copes with this emotion differently.

Many people don’t know what to say or do when a person is grieving, but be sure to have patience with the individual (including yourself) throughout the entire process.

An alternative treatment method includes psychotherapy. Through psychotherapy, a patient may:

·        Improve coping skills

·        Reduce feelings of blame and guilt

·        Explore and process emotions

Grief is normal and natural and often deeply painful response to losing someone you love.  The death of a loved one is the most common way we think of loss.  The death of a loved one is the most common way we think of loss, but many other significant changes in one's life can involve loss and grief.  Everyone experiences loss and grief at some time in their live.  The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.  There is no roadmap for grief. 

Each individual experiences and expresses grief differently.  One person may withdraw and feel helpless.  Another person might be angry and want to take some action.   No matter what the reaction, the grieving person needs the support of others to help them heal.  A helper needs to anticipate the possibility of a wide range of emotions and behaviors, accept the grieving persons reactions, and respond accordingly.  Therefore, it is often useful for the person in grief and for the helper to have informations about the grieving process. 

The Process of Grief

The process of grief and loss looks different for everyone.  Time patience, courage and support are necessary.  The grieving person will likely experience many emotions and changes throughout their grieving process. .  In the beginning there can be shock, followed by a long process of grieving.  Grief is not linear.  One never gets over the loss of loved one.  there is life before the loss and life after.  For the person grieving life will forever look different.  It's important to understand this.  There is no getting back to normal. 

SHOCK- is often the initial reaction to loss.  Shock is the persons emotional protection from being too suddenly overwhelmed by the loss. While in shock the person may not be able to make even the simple decisions.  They may forget their keys and small things because their brains are on overload.  Friends and family may need to simply sit and listen and help the person with basic needs like eating and drinking water.  Answering phone calls and daily overwhelming tasks.  

SUFFERING- this is the long period of grief during which the person comes to terms with the reality of the loss.  The suffering process typically involves a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.  as well as chaotic and disorganized state of mind.  Every person processes this phase differently there is no guide book for loss. 

SADNESS- this is a common feeling in grief and loss.  A person can cry often and the sadness can be intense and felt as emptiness and despair.  It is when the deep grief sets in and one comes to terms with the fact that their loved one isn't coming back. 

ANGER- This is confusing for the person grieving.  Anger is a response to feeling powerless, frustrated or even abandoned.  Anger is common respond to feeling threatened.  A significant loss can threaten a persons basic beliefs about self and about life in general.  Anger may be directed at self, or at God, or at life in general for the injustice of the loss.  Sometimes a person can even be angry at a loved one for dying. 

GUILT- Guilt is a common reaction to things the griever did or failed to do before the loss.  Memories of hurtful things said, loving things left unsaid, and not having been kind enough when the change was available.  Actions not taken that might have prevented the loss is common.  This can be a period of self blame.  

ANXIETY-Anxiety can range from mild insecurity to strong panic attacks.  It can also be fleeting or persistent.  Often people grieving become anxious about their ability to take care of themselves following a loss.  They may become concerned about the well being of other loved ones. 

PHYSICAL, BEHAVIORAL AND COGNITIVE SYMPTOMS- Often grief is accompanied by periods of fatigue, loss of interest in things that were one enjoyable.  Changes in sleeping and eating patterns, confusion, preoccupation and loss of concentration.  Suffering is the most painful and protracted state for the person grieving.  These stages are part of the process and can be necessary.  The body can experience signs and symptoms of the loss.  It is often good to seek professional help.  

RECOVERY- The loss of a loved one never goes away.  The goal of grieving is not to eliminate all of the pain and memories of the loss.  The goal is to find a way to honor yourself and your loved one.  To begin to accept the loss and find ways to honor your loved one. Often during this phase people chose to advocate for a cause, or create something in honor of their lost loved one. They want their loved on to know they mattered.  Recovery looks different for everyone, there is no timeline.  






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