12 Steps in Grief Process

Yet, if we allow ourselves the time to mourn we can gradually break grief's grip on us. Recognizing the role and value of the grieving process orients us to accepting the fact of the death. Acceptance marks a major step towards recovery.

Grieving follows a pattern, but each griever experiences it differently. Awareness of the basic pattern reveals common ground for mutual help and support. Recognition of uniqueness enables grievers to help themselves, guides sympathizers in what to say and do.

We go numb when someone we love dies. We feel stunned, in a trance. This is nature's way of cushioning us against tragedy. The length and depth of this state varies according to our relationship, the cause of death, whether it was sudden or expected, etc. Shock allows us time to absorb what has happened and to begin to adjust. The guidance of caring people can sustain new grievers. As numbness wears off and acceptance grows, we regain control of the direction of our lives.

Grievers typically, but in varying degrees, experience loneliness and depression. This pain, too, will pass. Being alone need not result in loneliness. Reaching out to others is a key way to lessen loneliness and to overcome depression.

The mental and emotional upset of a loss by death causes physical distress and vulnerability to illness. Grievers sometimes neglect healthy nourishment and exercise, overindulge in drinking, smoking or medication. We might need a doctor's advice in regard to our symptoms, their causes and their treatment.

The death of a loved one makes the future very uncertain. We might panic in the face of the unknown and fear life without the one who died. Panic prevents concentration and defers acceptance of the finality of death. It tempts us to run from life, to avoid people and to refuse to try new things. We might even think we're going crazy. Patience with ourselves and a willingness to accept help enable us to subdue panic and outgrow its confusion.

Many blame themselves after a loved one's death, for the death itself or for faults in the relationship. We have all made mistakes and sincere regret is the best response to them. However, self-reproach out of proportion to our behaviour affects our mental health and impedes our recovery. Close friends or a trusted counselor can aid us in confronting and dealing with guilt feelings, whether justified or exaggerated.

People in grief naturally ask "Why?" Why him? Why me? Why now? Why like this? Most of these questions have no answers. Frustration then causes us to feel the resentment and anger. We want someone to blame: God, doctors, clergy, ourselves, even the one who died. If we can accept the lack of answers to "Why?" we might begin to ask, instead, what can we do now to grow through what has happened. Then we have started to move beyond anger and towards hope.

A loved one's death disrupts emotional balance. The variety and intensity of feelings seem overwhelming. Other grievers and counselors can help us interpret and deal with these feelings. As we come to understand what we experience, we can find appropriate ways to ventilate our emotions and to channel them constructively.

At times in the grieving process, a kind of drifting occurs. Mourners find familiar and necessary activities difficult. We prefer to daydream about what was or fantasize about what might have been. If we can foster gratitude for the past and begin to assess our potential for the future, this will prove a passing phase, not a permanent state.

It takes time and effort, but gradually hope dawns for bereaved people. We learn to express emotions without embarrassment or apology. We cherish memories, bittersweet though they are. we begin to feel concern for and show interest in others. We make decisions and assume responsibility for ourselves. The example of the recovered grievers helps us discover and develop our own potential.

Eventually, grievers recognize and embrace a healing truth: Grief has changed me, but has not destroyed me. I've discovered new things about myself. I can build on strengths developed through adversity. I'm no longer my "old self" but I'm still me, I face the future with confidence. Life is worth living because I can love and be loved.


Source:  http://www.dennistoll.ca/12_Steps_in_Grief_Process_981014.html

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Comment by Felicia on February 9, 2016 at 5:05pm

I do appreciate #6--"Grievers need to know they're normal".  I hate when people make you feel like your not normal because your still grieving after six years ( in my case, over my mom) or WHO else you may also be grieving over, like a beloved pet. (Oh, its just a "Dam dog! ")  We often feel disconnected enough without someone's careless or heartless comments.

Comment by dream moon JO B on February 7, 2016 at 3:57pm

im on a bit of a low 1 on hear i feal ok 2 grief coz i dont get toll way i feall 

say god got plans but he/she plans can be bad 

Comment by bluebird on February 7, 2016 at 12:49pm

First of all, thank you for starting this website.  Many people, myself included, have found some small measure of comfort here.

Regarding the article posted above -- I'm sure those steps are true for some people, and it's good for them that they are. However, they are not universal.  Some of us never recover; some of never could; some of us would never want to.  Speaking for myself, my husband's death (and my grief due to it) HAS destroyed me, permanently.

It's important that you post this article here, as it will help some people. It is equally important to acknowledge that for some other people, our lives truly did end when our soulmates died.

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