Understanding Grief

by Rich Nilsen

“Grief only comes in one size, extra large.” — Dennis Manning

If grief can be summed up in a nutshell, it is how we feel now that an important person is no longer in our life. In essence, we hurt and feel sorry for ourselves. Our focus is usually on what WE lost. Grief, of course, is a normal reaction to the loss of someone or something. Each of us will handle these feelings in our own way and in our own time. There is no blueprint to the process and no timetable to how long you will hurt.

 

Author J. William Worden describes four facets of mourning:

1 – Accepting the reality of the loss

2 – Experiencing the pain of grief

3 – Adjusting to an environment without the lost loved one

4 – Reinvesting emotional energy in life

 

Having been through the complete grief process, I can relate to each of these “steps.” Accepting the loss almost immediately helped me move on with my mourning quicker, although it didn’t make anything easier.

I cannot help you acknowledge the reality of your loss. Only you can do that, and hopefully you are well past that stage by the time you receive this book.

Sometimes, intense feelings of grief will catch us by surprise. It may startle you when you fall “into the pits” several months after the tragedy. It is at this time that many people will be expecting you to be over your loss. Don’t believe them. It is only normal for this to happen. Just remember your grief is unique. No one else is just like you. No one else had the same relationship with the person who died.

Understand that a main purpose of grief is to help you reach the point in your life when you can remember without the pain.

What I present later in this guide are several steps to help you get through the grieving process in a positive way.

 

6 Simple Things You can do for Someone Who is Grieving at the Holidays

5. Create new holiday traditions

The holidays can be particularly hard for those who are grieving because of previously established traditions that may now be too painful to carry out. If they’re up for it, try doing something new this year.

“Work with your loved one to create a tradition or practice that serves as a containment for their grief, as well as helps them honor the lifetime of their departed loved one,” said Keisha M. Wells, a licensed professional counselor at Transformation Counseling Services in Columbus, Georgia.

“Volunteering with a local food pantry or starting a food or toy drive for families in need can be a great tribute and means of paying it forward during a difficult season,” she continued. “This activity of extending care and concern to others is a positive means to manage grief and sadness as you transfer your energy to someone else’s well-being versus your own emotions.”

See all 6 Suggestions:

Grief Help: Couple opens grieving room in honor of stillborn daughter Jane

WINNETKA, Ill. — Bob and Berkley Wellstein were thrilled to be expecting their first child. The baby’s room was ready. They had the crib and the clothes.

And then, one day in the 32nd week of an easy pregnancy, Berkley noticed that her baby hadn’t been moving. She tried lying on her side. She had some sugar. Then she went to the hospital for an innocent-sounding “reassurance check,” only to learn that medical staff could not detect a heartbeat. The Wellsteins’ daughter, Jane, had died in utero in a rare accident in which the umbilical cord becomes wrapped tightly around the baby’s neck.

“It was just complete destruction. It was devastation,” Bob Wellstein said of the loss seven years ago.

But even as the Wellsteins left the hospital with Jane’s footprints and a snip of her bright blond hair, the Winnetka couple knew that their little girl’s story wasn’t over. They wanted to do something to honor her and to help other parents who experience similar losses, including miscarriages and newborn deaths. Within a year of Jane’s death in January 2012, they’d opened the first Jane’s Room — a comfortable, homelike space for grieving parents and family members — at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. On Thursday, Jan. 17, the newest Chicago-area Jane’s Room was unveiled at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

Australian Boy Sews 365 Teddy Bears a Year for the Grieving, Sick

children grief help When Campbell Remess couldn’t afford to buy Christmas gifts for children in the hospital, he started making teddy bears for them. Nearly three years later, the Australian 12-year-old is still sewing-and he sends these one-of-a-kind plush toys to hot spots of misery around the world.
Campbell has been averaging one new bear a day for the… [Read more…]