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When life is interrupted by death, whether expected or not expected, it is one of the most devastating things a person experiences. Grieving is a normal, natural, response to that loss. It is powerful and affects one emotionally, spiritually, mentally and sometimes even physically. Grief serves to help a person cope with the death of a loved one, whether a family member, friend or beloved pet. remind one how fragile life is and how vulnerable you are to loss. Grieving is not only something felt after a death, but other losses, as well, such as divorce, loss of employment, status, a sense of safety, or loss of a home - even moving away to a completely different environment can bring on feelings of loss and abandonment.

While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement often refers to the state of loss, and grief to the reaction to loss. Understanding the grieving process and knowing what to expect may help a person cope - although, again, grieving is different for everyone. The process may be uneven, unpredictable, with no specific time frame. But, even knowing this, may be a comfort. The more you learn about grief, the better able you can cope with it. It’s best not to compare your grief to anyone else, but acknowledge that your loss is worthy of grief and accept you must endure these very real feelings of sorrow. Sometimes immediately after the death of a loved one, family members are caught up in the funeral arrangements and this serves as a “buffer” or distraction for a few days. The real grieving period sometimes happens later - days or even weeks later, after the funeral and when everyone else seems to have “moved on” with their lives. Grief counseling is sometimes required to help deal with the strong emotions that follow a loss. Counseling should not be viewed as a weakness, but just another step in your grief recovery. Hospice services may also be very valuable, not only helping in the last weeks of a person’s life, but by offering their services to family members afterwards, as well.

Remembrance of the loved one often helps, as well. Some people construct a special memorial of some sort to the person who has died, such as a garden, or by planting a tree in the person’s honor, etc. Remember there is no right or wrong way to do the work of grieving, and unfortunately, there is no short cut, but with time, it does work its’ way out - in your own personal way.


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