Grieving in Your Own Way
Each person experiences the death of a loved one differently
Grieving the loss of a loved one is different for each person who experiences it.
“There are no road maps, no directions,” said Angela Hamblen of Baptist Trinity Center for Good Grief. “What one person goes through is totally different from what another person may experience.”
But most people should expect to experience some of these feelings:
“People will feel these feelings at varying times and feelings can change in an instant,” Hamblen said.
She compares the grief experience to standing at the edge of an ocean. When you stand there looking out at the waves, the water is just covering your feet but you can still feel it. The waves can change in an instant. A strong wave may come and you will have to plant your feet to keep from falling down. Another wave may hit you from out of blue and you may stumble.
“The feelings are like the different waves,” Hamblen said.
When dealing with grief, you should be aware of your feelings. Take time out during the day – even it is only 10 or 15 minutes. Be by yourself – away from the demands and intrusions of others. Face your feelings at your own pace. Don’t worry about the expectations of others, no matter how well-meaning they are.
Most importantly, don’t ignore your emotions. If you push them down, they will fester and manifest themselves in other, perhaps destructive ways. Unresolved grief can cause physical ailments – stomach problems, headaches, insomnia and inability to concentrate.
Sometimes people need professional help for grief support. Signs to look for include hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, risk-taking behavior and inappropriate or out-of- character decisions.
“A good rule of thumb is ‘more’ or ‘less’ of normal behavior – sleeping, eating – anything that is the opposite of normal.”
Find supportive people who will listen to you – someone you can call at 1 in the afternoon or 1 in the morning. The best step you can take is to find someone trained in grief counseling, someone who will meet you where you are emotionally and meet your individual needs.
The Baptist Trinity Center for Good Grief is dedicated to providing comprehensive bereavement services to children, teenagers and adults. All services are free of charge, made possible through individual donations and grants funded by the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation and the Junior League of Memphis.
Source: Angela Hamblen, Baptist Trinity Center for Good Grief
Writer: Elizabeth Todd Bartholomew, MA, APR