Grieving – What’s “Normal”?
Grieving – What you might experience
Friends, family and coworkers are often full of advice for the grief stricken.
“He wouldn’t want you to cry.”
“Don’t make any big changes in the first year.”
“Keeping busy will take your mind off of it.”
While these suggestions may be well intentioned, they are not necessarily helpful for everyone and can be harmful for some.
Grief is different for everyone and what makes sense for some may seem strange or feel uncomfortable for others. Grief is as unique as the individual experiencing it and may be influenced by gender, culture, religious beliefs, age, personality and relationship to the deceased. Some people cry openly, others are more stoic or save their tears for private times. Some people prefer to clean out the deceased’s closet immediately while others need to wait, or do it gradually over time. Some people like to be surrounded by others while they are grieving and some prefer to be alone.
And while grief is a unique experience, there are some characteristics and feelings associated with it that are common to many. Some of these include:
- Confusion, disorganization
- Anxiety, feeling a loss of control
- Physical aches & pains, numbness
It is important for those grieving to be patient with themselves and take good care of themselves. Grief is a process and it does not end when the funeral is over or when everyone returns to work.
When to seek help
Many people benefit from grief counseling and often find it helpful to share their feelings and memories with someone other than (or in addition to) a family member or friend. Grief counseling can help “normalize” the grief experience and validate unfamiliar and uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. Counselors help identify positive ways to cope with grief to move people safely through their process.
Counseling or ongoing psychotherapy may also be indicated when grief becomes destructive – keeping constantly busy to avoid feeling, over/under eating, drinking and/or using drugs as a way to cope, extreme isolation, depression, suicidal thoughts. Some people have a conflicted relationship with the deceased, which can bring up past wounds and complicate the grief process. These and other issues can be addressed in therapy.
Agape Bereavement Services
Agape Healthcare offers bereavement services including phone support, short term one-to-one grief counseling and grief support groups. Additionally, Agape conducts a Grief and the Holidays seminar to help family and friends learn ways to cope with the often-difficult task of facing the first holidays after a loved one has died.
Agape’s bereavement counselors are also available to provide professional referrals for individual and group therapy to those in need of more comprehensive or long-term support.
For more information about Agape’s bereavement support services or to speak with a bereavement counselor please call 720-482-1988.
"There is a sacredness in tears.
They are not the mark of weakness,
but of power.
They speak more eloquently
than ten thousand tongues.
They are messengers
of overwhelming grief…
and unspeakable love."