Every person goes to death bearing in their hands only that which they have given away. Persian proverb
When someone experiences loss, the world changes in an instant. We will all come face to face with grief at some stage of our lives. Although grief is most closely associated with the coping with the loss of someone close to us- a partner, a family member, a close friend through death, we also experience grief in relation to other losses in life- moving house, going into care, losing or retiring from a job, health issues.
Grief is known to all human beings regardless of age, gender, culture or belief. Whatever the causes of the loss, grief is expressed and experienced in ways unique to the person grieving. There is no ‘right way’ to grieve. There is no ‘right time’ to grieve. It is hard to find a ‘normal’.
Several premises to consider:
- it is normal and healthy to experience intense and painful emotions-anger, pain, intense sadness, denial, relief, guilt, shock, panic
- grieving is important for healing
- painful feelings will lessen with time
- a grieving person is more prone to illness
Ways you can help a grieving person
- do not say ‘I know how you are feeling’. You don’t even if you have been through a loss yourself
- just be there
- be practical- offer to cook, to look after children, mow the lawn
- respect space
- allow people to talk
- don’t give advice
If you are Grieving
- talk about it- to anyone who will listen
- look after yourself
- be prepared for ups and downs- they can and will occer at any time
- get help if you are not coping
- be gentle with yourself
- don’t hurry things. Life has its own rhythm. Grief does too.
- time will be both blessing and curse. Use both.
‘Out beyond fields of right doing and wrong doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.’ Rumi