You Are Not Alone
Someone you love has died. You are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn. Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death and the person who died. It is an essential part of healing.
Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. Some people recover from grief and resume normal activities within six months, though they continue to feel moments of sadness. Others may feel better after about a year, and sometimes people continue to grieve for years without seeming to improve or find relief even temporarily.
One thing is certian: grief does not follow a timetable, but it does ease over time.
Coping with the Loss of a Loved One
Healing begins when you face your grief and realize you are not alone.
The loss of a loved one is one of the most emotionally painful events we can experience. As we struggle to accept our loss, it's natural to be consumed by powerful and conflicting emotions such as pain, fear, sadness, and even anger.
When Your Spouse Dies
If your partner has died, you will likely be overwhelmed with powerful emotions, including sorrow, anger and loneliness. You may find yourself constantly thinking about your lost partner and recreating the circumstances of his or her death.
As the reality of your partner's death sinks in, you may have to reinvent yourself. The hardest change will be accepting that the life you planned together has ended. You must now rediscover you own life after growing accustomed to living with a close companion.
The death of a loved one affects the whole family. Each member develops his or her own way of coping. Cultural differences, spiritual values, and the family dynamic itself all influence a family's reaction to such a loss.
The ability of your family members to grieve together and support each other is vital to helping the entire family cope. Each person will experience the loss differently and have different needs. Difficult as it may seem, it is important for family members to remain open and honest with each other.
The loss of a family member means family roles will change. Your family will need to discuss the effects of this change and the shift in responsibilities. This period of reorganization is stressful for everyone, so it is important to be particularly gentle and patient with each other.
Grief counseling facilitates the process of resolution in the natural reactions to loss. It is appropriate for reaction to losses that have overwhelmed a person's coping ability. There are considerable resources online covering grief or loss counseling such as the Grief Counseling Resource Guide from the New York State Office of Mental Health, in addition to a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends. (www.compassionatefriends.org)
"Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy."