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Bereavement: Understanding Grief and Helping others Recover Common Misunderstandings, Typical Symptoms, Important tasks to aid recovery Suggestions for.

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Presentation on theme: "Bereavement: Understanding Grief and Helping others Recover Common Misunderstandings, Typical Symptoms, Important tasks to aid recovery Suggestions for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bereavement: Understanding Grief and Helping others Recover Common Misunderstandings, Typical Symptoms, Important tasks to aid recovery Suggestions for Helping Others

2 Death is not a 4 letter word! Passed away Crossed over Kicked the bucket Bought the farm Gone to a better place Only sleeping Gone to their eternal rest

3 Most Common Cultural Misinformation and Advice :Why they are wrong! Time heals: Time by itself does not heal. Grieve alone: “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry ……………..” We need others help. Be strong (for others) You can’t stuff your feelings Don’t feel bad because….in a better place etc. You can’t turn feelings off and on. Replace the loss …get a new puppy… Each life is unique Keep busy: You can’t ignore your feelings they won’t go away by themselves

4 What is Grief? The normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind. The conflicting feelings caused by the end of, or change in, a familiar pattern of behavior. The feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find they are no longer there.

5 Losses other than death that lead to Grief Divorce Retirement Moving Financial Change Loss of health Empty nest Starting / ending School Many more life changes

6 There are no absolutes, each loss is unique, Yet these are Typical Initial Symptoms Reduced concentration A sense of numbness Disrupted sleep (less or more) Changed eating (less or more) Roller coaster of emotions

7 Other less frequent phenomena Hearing loved ones voice “Seeing” loved on the street or in a crowd Vivid dreams of loved one Temporarily “forgetting” the loss (for example setting their place at the table.)

8 Beginning to Recover It’s never too soon: when you hurt your body you apply treatment immediately Talking about the loss and your relationship with the deceased is often helpful Find a safe person/place to share your feelings. Someone who can listen without the negative cultural messages.

9 Beginning to Recover Tasks to deal with emotional shock and disorientation adjust to changes brought by the loss function appropriately in daily life keep emotions and behaviors in check N ot denying emotions, rather limiting enough to function Minimizing compulsive behaviors (drinking, shopping, etc.) accepting support

10 Some Possible Symptoms of Unresolved Grief Excessive loss of energy Getting “lost in your head” as in driving and realizing you don’t remember the last 5 miles. Loss of “aliveness and spontaneity” leading a life of “quiet desperation.” Trapped in feelings of anger, bitterness, or resentment Feeling like a victim

11 Managing Grief: What helps at the time of death Remember we are all unique and each loss is unique so none of what follows is absolute. It can be helpful to view the body Share with relatives and friends Follow the customs of your faith Celebrate the life and your relationship Cry and laugh

12 Suggestions for full recovery:Different, Better, More No relationship is perfect. In order to recover from grief it is usually helpful to explore our feelings about what we wished had been Different, Better, More In the areas of physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of our relationship with the deceased.

13 Suggestions for full recovery: Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations No relationship is ever complete. No matter how good it was we had Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations For our future together. It is often helpful to identify and share them.

14 Suggestions for full recovery: Apologies, Forgiveness, Significant emotional statements No matter our relationship there are often important things left unsaid. Apologies, Forgiveness, Significant Statements Although the person is no longer here it can be helpful to say these things out loud to another person, or to write them down in a letter to the deceased.

15 Emotional Immersion and Deconstruction When the initial impact of the death has passed, emotions are often deeply felt. The bereaved are often very internally- focused. It is common for the bereaved to undergo a "deconstruction" of their values and beliefs, as they question why their loved one was taken from them. Need to contend with reality Can be important to find meaning of the loss for their lives May need to reconstruct personal values and beliefs Move towards acceptance and letting go the loss

16 Recovery is…. Feeling better Finding new meaning in life Enjoying fond memories without the pain Knowing it is ok to feel sad from time to time Knowing it is ok to talk about your feelings regardless of the reactions of others

17 Recovery is…. Develop new social relations Strengthen existing relations Make decisions about changes in life style Find a renewal of self-awareness Accept responsibility for self

18 Be helpful Understand Grief is unique “I can’t imagine how you must feel” “I am here for you.” Listen carefully Be present without expectations Be responsive to reasonable requests for practical assistance

19 Some Common but Questionable Theological Views Death is God’s will and should not be questioned. The person was so special that God called him or her to be with Him. There must be a grand plan or purpose (a why) for every death

20 Some more helpful perspectives This is a mortal, frail, imperfect world, and tragedies occur. There is no satisfactory explanation when loss occurs. The question is not why me, but rather if me, what can I learn from this? How can you work through this loss and achieve as full a life as possible? How can you use this experience to help someone else? How do you find meaning in life without this person? How do you start anew?

21 Acknowledgement The Grief Recovery Handbook John James and Russell Friedman Harper Collins © 2009 Phil Rich, EdD, MSW, DCSW Martha M. Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC

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