Archive for the ‘Dealing With Grieving People’ Category

When we encounter grief as a result of a life situation, how many of us have been given a “road map” so to speak to be able to navigate our way through it effectively?

I ask this question because of having learned about grief over 23 years ago. I was so ill equipped to handle the death of a family’s 17 year old granddaughter who I was very good friends with. What added insult to injury was the fact she had taken her own life. That in itself complicated this new sense of grief that now had become my biggest nemesis.

When initially confronted by a grief experience, we learn quickly that whatever we hold true about being in control of our lives can be instantly shattered. All of these raw emotions begin to overtake us and unless we have been sufficiently been role modeled as to how we express this new pain, unfortunately we have a strong tendency to “act things out.”

When grief first enters our life, pushing it aside, down, away etc. are all options chosen by many, however to let it in and learn from it can become such a gift in a round about way.

Feeling grief emotions can only bring truth, openness and reality to what you are going through. We learn how to bend, realizing we will never break. We discover tears are an opportunity to release built up toxins and we feel better afterwards. We give of our self to others to help support them also in their time of need. Going through this we find folks to share our feelings with to help carry our load. Sharing our concerns for others only helps us to nurture our own self at such a time with what we are experiencing.

Remember–emotions choose us at these sensitive times, we do not choose them. Also–we all have heard about the varied stages of grief which are all possibilities we may encounter. Reality says we are all as different as our fingerprints as we will be in handling our grief. Just know that grief is not constant because if it were it would kill us. There is not a schedule that you and grief are on. When it appears, do your best not to fight it. Let this toxic, poison out and do not let it fester down deep inside.

We are not on any time table to go through grief or there is a norm to measure up against. The time you are going through will help to heal you. Take extra special care of yourself at this time and allow others to help shoulder your load.

During a time of going through grief, how much do each of us really know of how to help another human being or be aware of what we need to do for our self?Having to learn about grief by being thrown into a situation is no gift to anyone. To learn about grief without experiencing it first hand will generally keep you from totally understanding what grief “feels” like.

I would say to understand grievers is to acknowledge that some change has come about in their life. They are doing the best they can to acknowledge this change and coming to grips with this new reality, as sad as it is. What we end up giving to grievers is the best of what we know at the moment. Can we lean more to do more? Absolutely! Without enough accurate insight into grief there are going to be things said which will land on deaf ears. Here are some very ineffective comments which have been spoken to people in grief: I know how you feel—we don’t. He/she is in a better place—they’re not. It’s God’s will. You’ll get over this, don’t worry. Get control your life. Don’t cry. You shouldn’t feel that way. You’re young, you’ll find someone else. You’re really lucky, it could have been worse. It couldn’t be that bad. Why aren’t you beyond this by now?

These are all deal breakers as far as getting into better relationship with the griever.
Grieving is and can be terribly lonely as it becomes a new stark reality of a different life. Grievers need all of the support they can muster as they are not the same person nor will they ever be. Using that as a beginning point of understanding the type of change we are referring to, everything now is subject to new discussions. Being a willing participant in these new conversations can align the griever with the support person immeasurably.

Sometimes there are just no words in the dictionary which can describe the intensity of the pain grief can create. Having never had an experience like this doesn’t mean you cannot help support one who has. Just be willing to listen, listen and listen some more. Know that you cannot fix this for anyone.

Have you ever experienced what we as a society refer to as normal deaths? Medical problems, car crashes, homicides, accidents etc? When someone dies of a result of these, there is a very visceral reaction as we lose people to sudden deaths. It is a shock to our system, yes, however we can generally have a focus for our anxiety, anger, possibly hatred because a loved one has been taken from us.
Now we will unexpectedly get the news a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker or immediate family member takes their own life and what are we supposed to do with all of these emotions we are now confronted with? You immediately become a member of a club you wouldn’t have otherwise joined, that being a suicide survivors group. You now will be faced with searching out the why’s, if only’s, who, what, where, when particulars of this individuals death.
As lonely and individual as working through grief is, a suicide death leaves you in a completely different zone to heal in. To have experienced multiple suicides in your life
does not necessarily steel you against the loss of another because we care so deeply about people in our lives.
Survivors begin to feel different early on because of guilt, responsibility, dependability, control, avoidance, manipulation—all issues which are part and parcel remnants after a loss to suicide.
As a now suicide survivor you will become different as the shock to your system is very telling. We look to determine what our focus is going to be centered on to begin understanding the nature of the loss. Many people are affected by guilt because they believe with all of their being they “should have” seen it coming. Guess what? Other survivor’s who knew their loved one was struggling and thought this might happen, saw it coming and they still felt guilty for not having been able to stop it. Some do, however only temporarily. You begin to hear information about depression, brain chemical imbalance, neurotransmitters and other medical related jargon. Bottom line, you just want them back.
Seeking out specific help to begin resolving a suicide death is very important because of the language survivors use to heal their grief. Awareness, education, new consciousness of terms and phrases—died of suicide not committed; unintentional ignorance—other’s responses and reactions to you which now are different yet they know not what they are doing to you; walking wounded-having to function like nothing happened; silent grief and delayed grief-not wanting to share with others because they haven’t had your experience and intentionally or unintentionally burying your grief until such a time when you decide to deal with it or it decides to deal with you. Many times emotions pick us—we do not pick them. These are just a drop in the bucket of the different terminology used to begin healing after a loss to suicide.
Can grief be complicated after a suicide? Yes! So many survivors suffer alone and in silence because of the few avenues of support and services which are available.
PLEASE know with work and assistance from others you can work past this because you owe to yourself first to heal from this trauma and fully reengage life and others again. Many, many people have done this work and please know you are able to do it to.