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Grief’s Stages

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 in In the Days & Weeks After | 0 comments

Grief’s Stages

When we lose a loved one, it’s natural to grieve. It’s a normal human emotion that is felt by people all over the world, despite their nationality, income level or gender. If you’re human, you have the capability to feel and—when experiencing loss—to grieve. In the 1969 release “On Death and Dying,” author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a world-renowned expert on grief and the co-founder of the hospice movement, established the five stages of grief. In establishing the steps, Kubler-Ross interviewed more than 500 patients with terminal illness. Her interviews yielded these five stages grief, which can be experienced by both people facing their own death as well as those who are dealing with loss of any kind. The Five Stages of Grief are as follows:

  1. Denial: The inability to accept reality.
  2. Anger: Feeling angry and enraged at the situation.
  3. Bargaining: This stage is more often than not experienced by someone facing their own mortality. They may find themselves saying or thinking things like, “I’ll give up X if I can just have a few more days/weeks/months to live.”
  4. Depression: The feeling of “why bother?” sets in as a result of realizing that the situation is out of your hands and nothing can be done to change/fix it.
  5. Acceptance: Truly accepting the situation for what it is and understanding/embracing the fact that nothing can change it. “Nothing will bring my loved one back.” Or, “Nothing can change the fact that I’m going to die.”

While not everyone will experience the stages in this order much less all five of the stages, it is important to note that difficulty moving through a stage could merit the help of a grief counselor.

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Do I Need a Grief Counselor?

Posted by on Dec 27, 2011 in In the Days & Weeks After | 0 comments

The loss of a loved one, expected or not, obviously leaves a void in the lives of those left behind. The survivors are left to cope with the loss … to grieve the loss. And while grief is a natural part of dealing with and healing from the death of someone you care for, there are both healthy and unhealthy ways of grieving. Sometimes the grief can be so overwhelming that professional intervention may be necessary to help you navigate your emotions in a productive, more healthy way. But how do you know if you need a grief counselor? Here are three questions to ask yourself to help answer that question.

  • Do you feel emotionally numb? As though you are incapable of feeling and/or sharing your feelings with others?
  • Is your loss—and the grief you feel as a result—interfering with your ability to interact with others? Is it affecting your relationships with loved ones, co-workers and other people in your life?
  • Do you worry more about death now than you ever have before? And is this concern affecting your ability to get close to others for fear of losing them?

If you answered yes to these questions, first and foremost, you’re normal. These are common emotions following the loss of a loved one. But if you feel that you’re taking longer than what you expect to be “normal” to overcome these fears, emotions or lack thereof, it may be time to call a grief counselor, who will be able to help you find useful ways of dealing with your grief. Click here to find a grief counselor near you.

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Facing Death

Posted by on Nov 27, 2011 in Widow's Wisdom | 0 comments

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Living Wills

Posted by on Nov 27, 2011 in Pre-planning, Wills & Wishes | 0 comments

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A Casserole. And a Loaf of Bread.

Posted by on Nov 27, 2011 in Etiquette & Expectations, In the First Hours & Days | 0 comments

A Casserole. And a Loaf of Bread.

When my father-in-law died, their home filled up with every kind of casserole you could imagine. Minnesota Hot Dish, lasagna, (not-so-aptly named) Party Potatoes, spaghetti casserole. If it was served in a 9-by-13 pan and could be heated for 20 minutes at 375, it was there. And yet, when I went to the fridge to get a glass of milk, it was all gone. Note to self: when someone passes away, bring the grieving family some staple grocery items instead of — or in addition to — a casserole or quiche.

You don’t need to spend a fortune or grocery shop for a week for the family, but think of the every day items you are accustomed to having in your kitchen, and grab a few of them. Items like bread, milk, eggs, cheese, lunch meat, pet food, or even a 12-pack of Diet Coke are things people rely on. Providing them these items when grocery shopping is last on the list will be much appreciated.

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