April 3, 2007


Filed under: Articles — bryna @ 10:19 am

By Helen Fitzgerald, CT
Training Director, American Hospice Foundation
August 2, 2002

The progress through grief is so slow and so often of a “one-step forward and two-steps backwards” motion, that it is difficult to see signs of improvement. The following are clues that will help you to see that you are beginning to work through your grief:

  • You are in touch with the finality of the death. You now know in your heart that your loved one is truly gone and will never return to this earth.
  • You can review both pleasant and unpleasant memories. In early grief, memories are painful because they remind you of how much you have lost. Now it feels good to remember, and you look for people to share memories with.
  • You can enjoy time alone and feel comfortable. You no longer need to have someone with you all the time or look for activities to keep you distracted.
  • You can drive somewhere by yourself without crying the whole time. Driving seems to be a place where many people cry, which can be dangerous for you and other drivers.
  • You are less sensitive to some of the comments people make. You realize that painful comments made by family or friends are made in ignorance.
  • You look forward to holidays. Once dreaded occasions can now be anticipated with excitement, perhaps through returning to old traditions or creating new ones.
  • You can reach out to help someone else in a similar situation. It is healing to be able to use your experience to help others.
  • The music you shared with the one you lost is no longer painful to hear. Now, you may even find it comforting.
  • You can sit through a church service without crying.
  • Some time passes in which you have not thought of your loved one. When this first happens, you may panic, thinking, “I am forgetting.” This is not true. You will never forget. You are giving yourself permission to go on with your life and your loved one would want you to do this.
  • You can enjoy a good joke and have a good laugh without feeling guilty.
  • Your eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns return to what they were beforehand.
  • You no longer feel tired all the time.
  • You have developed a routine or a new schedule in your daily life that does not include your loved one.
  • You can concentrate on a book or favorite television program. You can even retain information you have just read or viewed.
  • You no longer have to make daily or weekly trips to the cemetery. You now feel comfortable going once a month or only on holidays or other special occasions.
  • You can find something to be thankful for. You always knew there were good things going on in your life, but they didn’t matter much before.
  • You can establish new and healthy relationships. New friends are now part of your life and you enjoy participating in activities with them.
  • You feel confident again. You are in touch with your new identity and have a stronger sense of what you are going to do with the rest of your life.
  • You can organize and plan your future.
  • You can accept things as they are and not keep trying to return things to what they were.
  • You have patience with yourself through “grief attacks.” You know they are becoming further apart and less frightening and painful.
  • You look forward to getting up in the morning.
  • You stop to smell the flowers along the way and enjoy experiences in life that are meant to be enjoyed.
  • The vacated roles that your loved one filled in your life are now being filled by yourself or others. When a loved one dies he or she leaves many “holes” in your life. Now those holes are being filled with other people and activities, although some will remain empty. You are more at ease with these changes.
  • You can take the energy and time spent thinking about your loss and put those energies elsewhere, perhaps by helping others in similar situations or making concrete plans with your own life.
  • You acknowledge your new life and even discover personal growth from experiencing grief.

This information and so much more is available at www.americanhospice.org

January 10, 2007

What to expect…

Filed under: Articles — bryna @ 9:34 am

* Waking early to face an empty day, with no interest in anything but your loss is to be expected. Grief takes many forms. If it not shown publicly, it will hit privately at unexpected times, triggered by the least expected stimulus.

* You will ask, “Why?”

* Holidays and “special” days can be deadly; and, if the weather is bad it is even worse.

* People who speak in platitudes, know not of what they speak!* Time does NOT healing everything. It only makes it bearable. You cannot always be busy. You will be alone to face your loss. To hear “You’re so strong” over and over becomes intolerable.

* People must be able to accept your need to leave at any time, even though you appear to be holding up well.

*Although you need to talk about your loss, people may avoid you, because they can’t face the same thing for themselves. You MUST have someone to with whom to speak honestly.

* Even though you used to think logically, you will become completely illogical for a while; and little things will seem to become insurmountable.

* Those who tell you that they hope you will find someone else will anger you.

* You will go on, why or how you don’t know; but the survival instinct does prevail.

The list goes on and on. This is just for insight into the emotions facing survivors.

From “Grief” Who Helps the Living? by Mary McLaughlin, R.N.
American Journal of Nursing, 1978.

** Personal Note: Do not feel you need to reply to ignorance.

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