“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” John Irving – A prayer for Owen Meany
It’s been six weeks since our precious smiling little girl left us.
The journey of grief is not a well-timed train with dependable stops. We cannot simply read about the process, follow the steps and within x amount of time come out into the light. We all grieve in different ways and at different tempos. Part of my journey has been to understand this process. I always strive to understand new experiences and the associated emotional burden that goes with that process. Many people have messaged us to say that our words have helped them to process their own grief, some new and some an old buried loss deep within them.
It is important for the bereaved to firstly process their grief. Our amazing grief counselor, Peter Fox, says that we should be able to name our emotion before processing it.
I thought I knew what grief was! A bit of crying , some deep despair and then you just get on with it.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Many people have said that they cannot begin to understand what we are going through. Hopefully our blog and the NGO going forward will provide people with a deeper understanding and a way to cope and process their own grief. Remember it’s never too late to address a deep seated loss. It may take a little longer but you can shine light into the dark place within your heart and throw off the heavy burden you have carried through your days.
I found the following piece online and thought it summed the grief process up well. I will in future, through my research and discussion with Peter, be broadening this subject substantially on the blog.
“Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss.
Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the emotional suffering one feels when something or someone the individual loves is taken away. Grief is also a reaction to any loss. The grief associated with death is familiar to most people, but individuals grieve in connection with a variety of losses throughout their lives, such as unemployment, ill health or the end of a relationship. Loss can be categorized as either physical or abstract, the physical loss being related to something that the individual can touch or measure, such as losing a spouse through death, while other types of loss are abstract, and relate to aspects of a person’s social interactions.
Every step of the process is natural and healthy. It is only when a person gets stuck in one step for a long period of time that the grieving can become unhealthy, destructive and even dangerous. Going through the grieving process is not the same for everyone, but everyone does have a common goal; acceptance of the loss and to keep moving forward. This process is different for every person but can be understood in four or more stages, depending upon the theory that is being used. In the four step model there are:
Shock and Denial
Shock is the initial reaction to loss. Shock is the person’s emotional protection from being too suddenly overwhelmed by the loss. The person may not yet be willing or able to believe what their mind knows to be true. This stage normally lasts two or three months.
Intense concern often manifests by being unable to think of anything else. Even during daily tasks, thoughts of the loss keep coming to mind. Conversations with one at this stage always turn to the loss as well. This period may last from six months to a year.
Despair and Depression
Despair and depression is a long period of grief, the most painful and protracted stage for the griever (during which the person gradually comes to terms with the reality of the loss). The process typically involves a wide range of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Many behaviors may be irrational. Depression can include feelings of anger, guilt, sadness and anxiety.
The goal of grieving is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. In this stage, one shows a new interest in daily activities and begins to function normally day to day. The goal is to reorganize one’s life, so the loss is an important part of life rather than its center. (Wikipedia)
There is not a right or a wrong way to grieve. Everyone grieves differently.”
“Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.”Samuel Smiles