Death, Grief, Mourning and Bereavement
by Cheryline Lawson
The impact of death, grief and bereavement has different effects for different people. Some cope with the loss of a loved one in a variety of ways. Even though, it may be a very difficult period, some people actually find some kind of personal growth during the grieving process. It may give them time to think about their own life and an urgency to improve themselves to live a more purposeful life in the event that they should face death also. There is absolutely no correct way in coping with death, grief and bereavement. A person's personality has a lot to do with the process of grieving coupled with the quality of the relationship with the person who has died.
When one looks at the recent news stories about Anna Nicole Smith, it appears that her mother may not have had a good relationship with her daughter. But her mother's grief was evident during the recent trial. I am not sure if it was possibly the guilt of not having had the opportunity to say goodbye to her daughter or the fact that she missed her daughter. She may have been grieving even before Anna Nicole Smith had died because a distant relationship can also cause grief.
How a person copes with grief is affected by their life experience, the kind of death, their cultural or religious background, their own coping skills, the support systems that are in place, and the person's social and financial status. Death, grief, bereavement, and mourning are intertwined words that are closely related to each other, but they have different meanings.
Death is the actual event that took place to initiate the grief of losing a loved one. Death is a final step to seeing, living with or communicating with the deceased. Death is a pronouncement of the end of life on earth and the commencement of mourning and loss. Death often brings back memories of other past losses and thus makes the grieving process more difficult.
Grief and bereavement are the reaction to the loss. The person experiencing the loss feels like they have had something taken away. Grief may be experienced mentally, physically, socially, or emotionally depending on each individual. Emotional reactions may include anger, guilt, feelings of anxiety, sadness, and utter despair. Physical reactions can include sleeplessness, appetite changes, physical problems, or possible illness. Social reactions can include feelings of responsibility for other family members, having to communicate with family or friends, feelings of being isolated,, or going back to work. The depth of grieving is dependent on the relationship with the person who died, the circumstances surrounding the death of the loved one, and how close the person was with the person who died.
Mourning may be understood as the progression of adapting to the loss. Mourning is prone to individual cultural customs, spiritual rituals, and a partial societal rule for coping with loss. Working through your grief makes it easier to return to daily routines. There is a period of making appropriate adjustments of getting used to being without the deceased and forming new relationships. This may initially bring some feelings of guilt, but these feeligs will diminish with time. Forming valuable relationships will help to make it easier to live in the present. The person who is grieving will benefit from seeking out others for emotional satisfaction. New identities, roles, skills, and lifestyles may change to adjust to living without the loved one who died. The help of a support group or counseling with a mental health professional or a religious counselor can help to facilitate this process.
No matter how we view death, grief, mourning and bereavement, the fact is that there is a loss and getting the proper support system in place is the key to recovery.
Cheryline Lawson is an author and mother who lost her two year old son to drowning. She has written an ebook about her ordeal to reach out to others who have lost a loved one. For more information about the ebook, go to her website at http://www.coping-with-grief.com.
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Process Grieving Essay
The experience of grief wears many faces for families whose lives are challenged by change, turmoil, illness, death and/or the loss of hopes and dreams. Grief is a process not easily acknowledged in our society, particularly the grief of experiences other than death. Yet grief is often an integral part of most life changes and experiences. Families who can acknowledge their grief and learn healthy ways to express their pain can then free their emotional energies to focus on life and the challenges ahead. Grief that is not allowed a healthy release frequently finds expression in anger, abuse and/or neglect of a loved one, substance abuse, illness and sometimes by the sabotaging of another's efforts to help.
It is a commonplace in the bereavement literature that unresolved grief can lead to difficulties coping with any losses throughout life. Families in need of planned or crisis respite all struggle with feelings of loss. For example, a mother who seeks out crisis nursery services may also be in the process of divorce which brings its own unique grief to the situation. The family of a child considered medically fragile who is in need of respite care may experience a sense of loss over not having a "healthy" or "perfect" child. The spouse of a family member with Alzheimer's may grieve the loss of the life they have planned together.
Knowledge of the process of grief and how to help individuals and families cope with their loss experiences can be an invaluable asset to planned and crisis respite programs and their service providers. By offering individuals and families opportunities to grieve their losses and acknowledging the hurt that accompanies those losses, we offer them tools and strategies to cope with the ongoing losses that are a part of everyone's life.What is Grief?Grief is one's own personal experience of loss. Mourning, on the other hand is "grief gone public." It is the outward sharing and expression of the pain. Sometimes it is helpful to make a distinction between the two in order to understand that there are some individuals in our society who have "permission" to grieve but cannot mourn. Society does not easily acknowledge the grief of a parent whose child is born with a disability, parents who experience a miscarriage, families where a loved one is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, families affected by AIDS, or dementia, such as Alzheimer's, etc. Caregivers can be helpful to such families by labeling their experience as one of grief and normalizing their pain and emotions. It is important to remember that all losses need to be grieved in some way.The Emotions of GriefPeople experience the pain of...
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