We find that we need to cope, on a daily basis, with a variety of feelings, reactions, and conditions that we would never have imagined possible.
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Our lives begin to undergo change as we grapple with all that the loss means to us and all that it causes us to feel and think and do. This is the most crucial phase of the grieving process, during which our feelings and responses need expression and release.
It is a time full of repetition. We tell our stories over and over. We ask ourselves the same questions again and again. We confront longing night after night and day after day. And as we repeatedly experience the same emotions and conditions, we need to talk about them. We benefit during this time from seeking and accepting the support of others.
In the final phase, Resolving , we are able to integrate the loss into our lives. We begin to see that we are going to go on, to move forward in our lives. We have days of hope—even days of excitement and pleasure. This does not mean that we no longer care about or have forgotten our loved ones.
It simply means that we have progressed through recognizing the loss, releasing our grief, expressing our sadness and despair and longing, and all the myriad of feelings that result from being a survivor. As one survivor put it after the death of his wife: What I feel now, more than anything, is gratitude, tremendous overwhelming gratitude that I had such a person in my life.
After the pain of grief, that gratitude inspires me every day and gives me energy as I reenter the world:. The survivors whose voices provide the inspiration for these pages are people who lost spouses, children, parents, siblings, friends, or lovers. Their loved ones died as the result of illness and disease, accidents, suicide, or murder. These survivors represent a wide range of ages and backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, and occupations. May you gain strength from their voices and the meditations that parallel their concerns.
And, as you read, may you gather hope, find the courage to express your thoughts and feelings, persevere through the ongoing release of your grief, and eventually find freedom from emotional pain. This book is divided into three sections that correspond to the three broad and fluid phases of grief: Retreating, Working Through, and Resolving. Although the topics are arranged to correspond to the grief phases in which they are most likely to occur, the meditations are not meant to be read in any specific order. In other words, this is not the kind of book that should be read progressively, from front to back.
One day, you may find yourself drawn to a certain topic in one section that addresses your needs; the next day, you may see that you are connecting more with a topic in another section of the book.
Healing Grief, Finding Peace
This book is designed to be used as it suits you best, the way it speaks most directly to your feelings, moods, wishes, dreams, and concerns. It is the aim of A Time to Grieve to assist you. Some survivors try to think their way through grief. Grief is a releasing process, a discovery process, a healing process. We cannot release or discover or heal by the use of our minds alone. The brain must follow the heart at a respectful distance. It is our hearts that ache when a loved one dies, It is our emotions that are most drastically affected. Certainly the mind suffers, the mind recalls, the mind may plot and plan and wish, but it is the heart that will blaze the trail through the thicket of grief.
Grief is a discovery process. I will open myself to the discoveries my heart and head will make. Grief is a healing journey, and I will trust my heart to lead my head in this journey.
Louis LaGrand, Author at Open to Hope
When we suffer any blow, we need to recover, to heal. Grief is the way to healing after a loss. When we are feeling deep, powerful emotions or impulses, it is necessary for us to acknowledge them, knowing they will not harm us. We cannot constantly hold back, push away, or censor what we really feel. Fearing to grieve gets us nowhere.
With grief, the way back is the way through. Even though my feelings are turbulent, and at times consuming, I must not fear them.
Grieving my loved one will eventually allow me to heal. By speaking when I need to speak and taking action when I need to, I will be contributing to my own recuperation, the eventual resolution of my painful loss. Such a resolution does not mean I will no longer have a bond with my loved one; it means only that I will have begun to see how my life can more forward.
When we lose a loved one, almost everything in us and around us seems to change at the moment of the death. We are likely to feel isolated.
And we may feel, too, as if the world is a vastly confusing and chaotic place. We long for just a few moments with our loved one. We reflect on the happiness that person brought into our life. Nothing else makes sense to us but the rare and meaningful relationship, which we cherished—which is now gone. Consumed by our devastating loss and our longing, we see ourselves and the world much differently than we ever have before. From this time on, we think, the world will never be the same.
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And in a very real sense, our world is changed the moment a loved one dies because each person we love makes up a precious and vital piece of our world. At such a challenging time, we need to be patient with the chaos we are now enduring both inside us and around us. We must have faith that it will surely and gradually diminish. In chaos that follows a death, it is easy for us to become inactive and withdrawn.
We may be unable to voice our opinions or to express our concerns. We may retreat to the corner of the room and watch the frenzied activities of others. Or we may sit in the center of the group of mourners and do and say nothing. Most likely, our efforts at any conversation or action will be minimal during the first few months after the death. We just get through each day any way we can.
Yet, whether or not we participate in life, it continues to go on around us. And all of the daily fallout from life invades our world, whether we want it to or not. We see ourselves as responsible for doing a great deal, but actually doing nothing. But, of course, our inactivity is not the driving force behind the disharmony, confusion, and mistakes that surround us.
I feel I could have made it right if only I had participated. I need to give up these feelings. They do not accurately reflect what is really happening. It is natural to turn away from death after it first occurs, possibly to the extent of denying that our loved one has died. We hear about the death, or see it. We deny the complete reality of the death and let it in only partially and very gradually, in amounts just large enough for us to deal with successfully. When we can handle it, we link up with the reality of the death; we consider its many aspects and the ways in which we are directly involved and affected.
We feel the necessary pain. I am unable to cope with this death right now. I will not force myself. Instead, I will allow myself some time to get accustomed gradually to the shock I have experienced. La Grand will discuss some of the most powerful coping strategies that you can use to help you manage your stress, effectively manage your loss, achieve calm, and get on with your life.
Healing Grief, Finding Peace: 101 Ways to Cope with the Death of Your Loved One
Now, it's time for me to reveal something personal. For those of you who follow me, you'll know I've taken off a lot of time in the past year, except for in June, when my book, Beyond Sugar Shock , was published, because my mother was terminally ill and she passed away recently. Naturally, given that I'm still mourning the loss of my mom, I was inspired to do this show to help those of you, who also are going through your own grieving. By the way, I am bringing Dr. LaGrand on now to give you some valuable pointers to get through the holidays.
As is the case with all my Gab with the Gurus Shows, I always bring on guests who can not only inspire you but who also give you valuable tips that you can put to use right away. The episode audio is being processed and will be ready shortly. Louis E. Dr Louis LaGrand grief death of a loved one Gab with the Gurus Connie Bennett If you've recently lost a loved one, you want to feel your grief rather than hide out from your feelings.
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