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The Many Faces of Grief
by eunoia January 12th 2009, 06:09 PM

The Many Faces of Grief
by Gidig and Jessie

Losing someone is never easy. Whether they are a loved one, a friend, or an acquaintance, we often find ourselves at a loss when faced with death. Even the death of a stranger can make us feel sad, small and alone.

Many times, we are left wondering “why”. When we lose someone, we may lose a piece of ourselves, as well. When confronted with death we are also confronted with the reality that we, ourselves, will not live forever. We are forced to admit that no one is invincible. For maybe the first time in our lives we understand just how fragile human life is, and it can be shocking, frightening, and leave us feeling alone and helpless. However, it is okay to feel these things. It may even be “normal” and expected. Something we often forget, when coping with loss, is that we do not have to be strong. We are allowed to cry and to talk about it and even feel angry.

At any point while coping with death, you may experience shock or denial. It seems impossible to believe that even though you were laughing and talking with someone, not long ago, you will never see them again. It may be helpful to remember that while you can never make new memories with them, the ones you have of them are yours to keep, forever. Nothing can take these memories from you, not even death.

Pain and guilt
You may feel depressed, sad or guilty when someone dies. Remember that you are allowed to feel this way, but you also do not have to. If you experience feelings like these, make sure to do something for yourself to ensure you don't become too overwhelmed with depression. If you feel any of these emotions are taking your life over, consider talking to a grief counselor or other health professional.

It’s not fair; it might feel like nothing will ever be okay again. You have been cheated out of a lifetime of memories with someone wonderful. How could someone be taken from you like that? How could they leave you? After losing someone you might feel angry—over lost chances, having to face the rest of your life without them, or even with them. Know that while it is okay to experience anger, your loved one would not want you to feel this way. Try to use your anger productively and positively instead of allowing it to take over your life.

Reflection and loneliness
It’s not unexpected that after losing someone you will begin to reflect on their life and how they have impacted your own life. You may begin to feel lost and alone in your grief without them. During these times it is important to know and remember that you are never alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and speak about how you feel.

Progress and rebuilding normalcy
It may be long before you completely accept the loss of someone that you begin to rebuild your life. Things will begin to return to normal and you will return to a routine, although it may not be your old one. Sometimes it may be easier to build a whole new routineand work hard on sticking to that to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed by the emotions that come with such a life changing event.

Making peace
Making peace with death is perhaps one of the most difficult, life-long battles you will face. Just when you think you have accepted death, something happens and you realize that loss still hurts. No matter how much time you give loss, it is important to remember that while death will always be with you, it may become easier, with time.

When coping with death, you may experience setbacks in making peace. Doing things like visiting gravesites, talking to a lost loved one’s family members, or seeing a photograph may cause you to re-visit one or more stage of grief. When this happens, it is important to talk to a loved one or therapist. It is okay to experience setbacks, but they do not have to be the start of a long depression.

Losing a child or teenager
When we lose someone who has lived a long life, it is almost as if it is expected. We understand that age interferes with life, and that at the end of a long life, people pass. Young people, though, aren’t supposed to pass away. It does not fit in with our ideal model of life, to see a child, teenager, or even some adults die. Children should bury their parents, so when the elderly out-live the young, it can have a devastating effect on many lives. While losing an older person is never easy, you may feel at more of a loss when you lose a young person. Know that while it is hard, you will get through this.

Suicide can be one of the most sudden and heartbreaking ways to lose a person. It can be difficult to comprehend why someone would want to leave you behind and you may never understand what hurt them so terribly that they would take their own life. When facing a suicide, it is important to try and believe that your loved one is in a better place. Even if you do not believe in Heaven, simply reminding yourself that they will never hurt, again may help to ease even a little of the pain.

Ways to remember
There are many things you can do, in honor of a loved one’s memory. Journaling, online memorials and artwork are just a few examples. Trying different things will help you to find the best way of remembering, for you.

Last edited by Katrina; September 3rd 2009 at 02:07 AM.
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