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Awareness of the Moments of Grief

There is a succession of stages yet each experience has its own internal logic.  Each personal works their way through these tasks in their own way in their own time.  They often ebb and flow, revisit

There are five primary goals or tasks in the grief process that flows from denial to being calm and settled.

Accepting the finality of the loss.  Buried in this stage is our sense of safety and survival. Loss feels like fear.  It looks like brain fog: the inability to think well and focus attention.  It’s the sense, “I am totally alone.  It’s all up to me.”

Accepting the painful thoughts, feelings and behaviors is the process of mourning.   Grief is a time when every aspect of the relationship with a loved one is felt, examined and reexamined including experiences, hopes, feelings, thoughts and memories. It’s the realization of what was and what will be no more.

Reclaiming and redirecting the love energy once focused on the lost relationship.  It means letting go.  This energy is needed to again find a place in the world and to develop new relationships.

Reviewing and crystallizing memories of the deceased.  The dam of memories breaks and the mind searches the past to make sense of the experience.  Initially the mind buffers itself with positive images to cushion feelings of regret, guilt and anger at a time when one has little ability to cope.  In the natural progression of healing, this review eventually becomes more realistic and balanced, containing both positive and negative recollections.  Gradually, an image of life with the deceased is created.

Selecting memories to incorporate in the fabric of life going forward.  Through the process of remembering, replaying and integrating, one becomes her next self by adapting and changing in behavior, self-perception and expectations.  The goal is adapting to an accepted changed state:  “This is who I am now.”Healing is hampered by resisting the process and suppressing natural expression as we try hard to be brave and courageous as we endure.  We want to hurry it along so we aren’t a burden or a drag.

Healing is hampered by resisting the process and suppressing natural expression as we try hard to be brave and courageous as we endure.  We want to hurry it along so we aren’t a burden or a drag.It’s realizing that it’s best to go with the flow.

It’s realizing that it’s best to go with the flow.Healing is done with the ability to remember, without anguish, the joy and disappoints of the lost relationship, a wholehearted return to regular activities and energy into a new life.  One moves from getting through the day” to a turn in the road where laughter returns and perspective includes others.  It’s the return of the ability to look forward to life ahead.

Healing is done with the ability to remember, without anguish, the joy and disappoints of the lost relationship, a wholehearted return to regular activities and energy into a new life.  One moves from getting through the day” to a turn in the road where laughter returns and perspective includes others.  It’s the return of the ability to look forward to life ahead.   Grief is a testing that can cultivate a sense of self-sufficiency, an increase in self-trust and worth, a show of courage and grit that prepares us for independent life ahead.

Grief is a testing that can cultivate a sense of self-sufficiency, an increase in self-trust and worth, a show of courage and grit that prepares us for independent life ahead.

“The Art of Condolence, what to write, what to say, what to do at a time of loss” by Leonard Zunin, MD and Hilary Stanton Zunin, Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.

“When a Spouse Dies, What I didn’t Know about helping myself and others through grief,” by Barbara R Wheeler, DSW, Plain Sight Publishing, 2012.

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