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HEALing From Grief
Grieving the death of a loved one is a complex process. Cultural, social, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual elements all factor in how a person grieves. While no two people grieve the same way, there are four things that help grieving people HEAL:
1. Helping Relationships. This is the grieving person’s support system. Family, friends, co-workers, church members, and support groups can provide the grieving person with emotional, mental, relational, spiritual, and (if needed) financial support. A strong support system will not tell the grieving person to “get over it” or “move on.” Instead, the support system provides the grieving person a sounding board, shoulders to cry on, and ears to listen.
2. Enough Time. Grief doesn’t disappear overnight. There is no magic formula to accelerate the grieving process. The grieving person needs enough time to process their grief. Some people will require only a few weeks or months to process their grief. Others will take a year or longer. This time always depends on the individual.
3. Active Lifestyle. Whether it’s work, a hobby, church activities, or social events, staying active helps the grieving person to resume their life while adjusting to the absence of their loved one. Staying busy keeps the body active and the mind occupied as the grieving person continues to process their loss.
4. Looking Back While Moving Forward. During the tearful moments in the time following a loved one’s death, wonderful memories provide calm, comfort, and joy in the midst of sorrow. One of the earliest signs of healing is the ability to talk about the good times they shared with their loved one. Often, families who are present at the death of a loved one will immediately share stories of their loved one, smiling through their tears.
While these four things are not an instant cure for grief, and while the needs of each grieving person are different, these four things—helping relationships, enough time, an active lifestyle, and looking back while moving forward—provide a healthy start on the journey to healing from grief.
Grief is not depression! If you are having a tough time dealing with grief, it is ok to seek professional help. There are people out there who specialize in getting people on the road to recovering from grief. There are resources to help you.
Aaron Saufley, Chaplain - Greenville NC
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These thoughts and messages are so important - especially when there seems little patience to allow for the time it takes to heal - whether a body part or a broken heart. As I go through my own journey toward planning for my own 'best ending' I feel fortunate to be able to talk to those I may leave behind (I'm planning while in very good health). I curated tweets from the End of Life chat "EOLchat" on the topic of grief, and in doing so learned more the important roles played by chaplains. http://storify.com/KathyKastner/eolchat-end-of-life-chat Prompted me to create an app to help with end of life decisions - which needs more info about chaplains :) http://www.ability4life.com/best-endings/
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