Good Grief

Good Grief

By Kathryn Ellen Styers,
Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County

Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.

Grief and loss is the normal, natural response to the loss of someone or something important. It is unique to the individual experiencing it and there is no general time- table for completing it. But grief can be a good thing; in fact some people often like it. It can pack a bigger punch than we think we can handle, though. How so?

Emotional reactions: depression, guilt, anger, un- realistic expectations, loneliness, frantic pace, financial worries, fatigue, overeating, etc. These can all create short and long-term effects.

Physical reactions: hollowness in stomach, tight- ness in chest, heart palpitations, change in appetite Mental reactions: disbelief, confusion, inability to concentrate

Mental reactions: disbelief, confusion, inability to concentrate

We have to remember that this is a journey.

It is typically not the tidy model of denial, anger, bar- gaining, depression, and acceptance that we are expected to follow during the grieving process.

So what is so good about grief?

The grieving process is about not only mourning the loss, but getting to know yourself as a different person. Here are ten steps to make grieving a positive process:

Take time to feel it.

What is it like? Describe it. Embrace it. Dedicate time to grieve.

Celebrate it.

Honor it and make it personal. Look forward to anniversaries. Mark them. Memorialize them.

Get rid of it (the bad).

Throw it away. If it was an ugly loss, give thanks it’s in the past and that you are ok. Burn it. Learn from it. Do not let it have power over you.

Talk about it.

Choose someone you know who cares. Step up and ask someone to be there for you. Don’t talk about it every time you’re with people, though.

Identify with it.

Understand it and know that you are not alone in this process, that something important is at work and you will grow from it.

Hold on to it (the good).

Preserve memories, pictures, and family traditions.

Differentiate it.

Separate the Good Grief from the Bad Grief. Be the NEW you!

Embrace it.

Accept whatever peace, comfort, memories, healing, and eternal reassurance you can find.

Integrate it.

It’s part of you, so blend it into who you are and who you want to be.

Accept it.

Be present with it, alone and with people you care about. Mend. Forgive. Align. Celebrate. Be mindful in the now.