Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. Whether the loss involves the death of a loved one, the end of a special relationship, or becoming disabled. whether the person is a senior citizen, a child or a college student does not matter.. Anyone can experience loss and grief.
At many points after a loss, the grieving person can benefit from the support of others. Individual grief reactions can vary widely, not only from person to person, but also within the same person over time. As a result, friends need to be ready to accept and support the griever through a wide range of emotions.
People who are grieving will experience many reactions to their loss as they work toward resolution. At various times, but especially first, the grieving person may experience intense and sometimes conflicting feelings or may deny that the loss has occurred. Strong feelings such as sadness, helplessness, loneliness, guilt or anger can emerge. Experiencing and accepting these feelings as natural represents an important part of the recovery process. Ultimately, the grieving person reaches a point in the recovery process where the loss becomes integrated into his or her set of life experiences. He or she is now better to carry out the tasks of daily living.
Throughout the recovery period people who are grieving will experience many reactions. Some of the following reactions may be experiences many times:
- Denial, Shock, numbness
- Emotional releases,
- Need to talk
- Physical ailments
The following are some suggestions for helping a person in grief.
- Take some kind of action. Call, send a card, help with practical matters.
- Be available
- Be a good listener
- Don’t minimize the loss
- Allow the bereaved person to grieve. There are no short cuts.
- Encourage the bereaved to care for themselves
Just as there is no single pattern to grief, there is no single way to help a grieving person. Both the grieving person and any friend who is trying to help may feel unsure and uncomfortable. Either way, remember that it is important to be yourself. Remember that as a friend, just by listening and being with the person, you are helping. If you or the bereaved need additional help, you may wish to seek professional assistance. Therapists understand the grieving process and can assist the grieving individual pass through the necessary stages and work toward a resolution.