GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO HEAL
The loss and sorrow of a loved one is by far the most painful experience one will ever have to endure. It may leave you wondering if you can go on without them, and have you thinking if you will ever feel “normal” again.
For many young children, it may even be more complex as they struggle to understand and cope with the loss of their loved one. We understand and deeply empathize with your hurt and pain when the person you love so much dies, and now is gone.
Because you are truly unique, we want you to know that your grieving process will be different than someone else’s. It is normal to feel anger, deep sadness, withdrawal, guilt & anxiety…and not necessarily in any order. Everyone grieves differently so please give yourself time to heal.
Valiant Hospice is here for you when you need us. Our Grief support programs are tailored to support you. With your direction, this is the time when we will gently lift and guide you with love & respect. The human spirit is delicate and it is our vocation to be sincere, strong and reliant when you feel you are unable to cope.
- (of a person) greatly saddened at being deprived by death of a loved one. noun
- a bereaved person or persons (usually preceded by the): to extend condolences to the bereaved.
Bereavement: the state or fact of being bereaved or deprived of something or someone.
Grief: The private, very great sadness, especially at the death of someone.
Mourn: To publicly feel or express great sadness, especially because of someone’s death.
TYPES OF GRIEF AND LOSS
When a person or family is expecting death, it is normal to begin to anticipate how one will react and cope when that person eventually dies. Many family members will try to envision their life without that person and mentally play out possible scenarios, which may include grief reactions and ways they will mourn and adjust after the death.
Anticipatory mourning includes feelings of loss, concern for the dying person, balancing conflicting demands and preparing for death. Anticipatory mourning is a natural process that enables the family more time to slowly prepare for the reality of the loss. People are often able to complete unfinished “business” with the dying person (for example, saying “good-bye,” “I love you,” or “I forgive you”).
Grief experienced after a sudden, unexpected death is different from anticipatory mourning. Sudden, unexpected loss may exceed the coping abilities of a person, which often results in feelings of being overwhelmed and/or unable to function. Even though one may be able to acknowledge that loss has occurred, the full impact of loss may take much longer to fully comprehend than in the case of an expected loss.
There are times when grief does not progress as expected; the intensity and duration of grief is prolonged and dramatically interferes with a person’s ability to function. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may be prevalent and prolonged. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors and reactions may seem to persist over long periods of time with little change or improvement. In these situations, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional who can assess your individual situation and make recommendations that will help. It is important to seek help; complicated grief does not subside on its own.
HEALING FROM LOSS
Ideas for Writing
You may find it helpful to “sort out” your thoughts about your loved one by writing a letter to the person who died.
The things that are bothering you the most are excellent ideas to journal about. It helps connect you to the messages coming from your heart.
Express your thoughts and feelings about:
A special memory that I have about you…
What I miss the most about you and our relationship…
What I wish I had said or had not said…
What I’d like to ask you…
What I wish we’d done or had not done…
What I have had the hardest time dealing with…
Ways in which you will continue to live on in me…
Special ways I have for keeping my memories of you alive…
Choose one or several ideas that are important to you or start at the top of the list and work your way down. These topics may help you come up with ideas specific to your situation and relationship.
What Do We Need During Grief?
Time alone; and time with others whom you trust and who will listen when you need to talk. Months and years of time to feel and understand the feelings that go along with loss.
Rest, Relaxation, Exercise, Nourishment, Diversion
You may need extra amounts of things you needed before. Hot baths, afternoon naps, a trip, a “cause” to work for to help others – any of these may give you a lift. Grief is an exhausting process emotionally. You need to replenish yourself. Follow what feels healing to you and what connects you to the people and things you love.
Try to reduce stress or find help for financial and other stresses in your life. Allow yourself to be close to those you trust. Getting back into a routine helps. You may need to replenish yourself to do things at your own pace.
You may find hope and comfort from those who have experienced a similar loss. Knowing some things that helped them, and realizing that they have recovered and time does help may give you hope that sometime in the future your grief will be less raw and painful.
Try to allow yourself to accept the expressions of caring from others. They may give you hope that sometime in the future your grief will be less raw and painful.
For a while, it will seem that much of life is without meaning. At times like these, small goals are helpful. Something to look forward to, like playing tennis with a friend next week, a movie tomorrow night, a trip next month helps you get through the time in the immediate future. Living one day at a time is the rule of thumb. At first, don’t be surprised if your enjoyment of these things is not the same. This is normal. As time passes you may need to work on some longer-range goals to give some structure and direction to your life. You may need guidance or counseling to help with this.
Do not underestimate the healing effects of small pleasures when you are ready. Sunsets, a walk in the woods, a favorite food – all are small steps towards regaining your pleasure in life itself.