Keep Going: From Grief to Growth

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Some may be good listeners while others are good at helping in more tangible ways, like picking the kids up from school or mowing the lawn. He was grateful to accept carpooling offers from other parents—and they were pleased with an opportunity to assist. Some individuals may be uncomfortable even talking about your loss, but will be glad to take you out to a funny movie. These friends offer respite from the hard work of grief.

You may also find support in a grief group. Grief groups offer validation of your reactions, strategies for coping, and hope. And as you help others, you become more aware of your own strengths. The people we love never fully leave us. You retain a continuing bond with them through your memories and the ways they affected you as a parent, a partner, or a friend. Think of the legacies they left you. And again, explore your philosophy or spirituality to see what it says about enduring connections with those we love.

Focus, too. Creating a photograph album, a journal, or other tangible reminder can keep those memories alive. He has few memories of his father but he does love look as the video his mom created of his early experiences with his Dad. It helps him keep the memory of his father alive. If you focus on the tragedy of loss, you may reinforce the tragic. Try whenever you can to use positive language, such as the courage you will need to meet the challenges of loss. Learn from the decisions you make. What went well?

What did not? How can you learn from these decisions?

Grief 2 Growth Podcast Episode Irene Vouvalides > Grief 2 Growth

What will you do differently next time? Even small choices reinforce your ability to cope. Periodically review how you have changed as you journey with grief. What new insights have you developed? What have you learned? What skills have you gained? It allows us to step out of the darkness of mere existence and back into the sunshine where life is sweet again.

Of course, it's a very different life than the one you had before your loved one died.


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People can be very supportive in the initial days after a death. There are lots of things for them to do: help to make funeral arrangements, notify other friends and family of the death, and take care of day-to-day chores. It's a matter of being friends: taking on the necessary tasks so survivors have the time and energy to actively mourn their loss. Unfortunately, once the funeral is over, things can change dramatically. This support system can dissolve quickly as people return to their normal routines. The phone stops ringing and the bereaved may find their days and nights to be long and lonely.


  • We can do more than cope with grief -- we can choose to grow.;
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  • How to Really Help Someone in Mourning. It's about not walking away. Granted, you may part company after the funeral but a true ally doesn't stay away long; a better-than-good ally keeps checking in with the bereaved. Being a friend in need during this time can feel very difficult. D, wrote what she considers to be the focus of this grief work: "Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love rather than pain.

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    It is a sorting process. One by one you let go of things that are gone and you mourn for them. One by one you take hold of the things that have become a part of who you are and build again. The Four Tasks of Mourning. To accept the reality of the loss To process the pain of grief To adjust to a world without the deceased. To find an enduring connection with the deceased in the midst of embarking on a new life.

    Those four tasks define the work of grieving. When you choose to become an ally to someone in mourning, it becomes your responsibility to support them in achieving those things within their time frame — not yours. In no way should you impose a limit on the amount of time their bereavement takes; the only limitations you can set have to do with any negative behaviors you witness. Is your friend using alcohol or drugs to manage their emotions? Are their eating habits becoming destructive?

    Are they choosing to isolate themselves from the wider world? All those things should raise red flags. If you think their grief has overwhelmed them and set them upon a self-destructive course, it may be time to suggest they see a certified grief counselor or therapist.

    Attending their loved one's funeral is just the first step in accepting the reality of the loss. Taking them to visit their loved one's grave or other place of interment to leave flowers or simply to spend time in conversation and contemplation continues this process. Never force them to go; only suggest and then support them when they agree to your suggestion.

    From grief to growth and beyond, widows can lead a rewarding life

    Empathetic listening — listening not just with your ears but with your heart. This goes a very long way in helping them to process the pain of grief. Be willing. They will have to learn to be functional in this new world without their loved one.

    That can involve practical assistance from you: help to pay the bills, assist with grocery shopping, or offer your support while they learn or relearn how to do something. The bereaved must reintegrate their sense of self while at the same time process any changes in their beliefs, values, and assumptions about the world.

    Again, empathetic listening without judgment gives them a safe space to work out these significant changes in their world view. Help them to find a suitable place in their emotional life for the deceased: "a place that is important but that leaves room for others" and "a place that will enable them to go on living effectively in the world".

    It is suggested that they envision what they would want for themselves if their grief were magically removed. Even if you don't know what to say, just having someone near can be very comforting. Other simple tips include these:. Ask how the bereaved person feels and listen to the answer. Accept whatever feelings the person expresses. Give reassurance without minimizing the loss.

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