Our response to grief is through feelings or emotions. There may be no exact words that come to describe the feelings that surface at the moment we face bereavement. Any loss is painful – and it hurts. Nevertheless, feelings are real. It is natural to feel overwhelmed with emotions like pain, anger, and sadness. We can experience grief in physical, psychological and behavioral dimensions. For example, physical dimensions may be a feeling of hollowness in the stomach, a lump in the throat, or tightness in the chest; psychological dimensions may be disbelief, confusion, preoccupation; and behavioral dimensions might exhibit appetite disturbances, absentmindedness, and social withdrawal. To better understand mourning dimensions is to look further into grief. Fond Remembrance offers a workshop on Grief & Healthy Grieving. Contact Info@FondRemembrance.com for more information.
The loss of a loved one ranks high on the list of significant emotional events that we all must face in life. When we reflect on the loss of a loved one, we experience grief – our feelings or emotions that surface in different ways in response to the loss. We deal with grief through the process of mourning which requires our working through emotions as we reflect upon our loved one. Gathering together as a family unit to plan and offer support to each other is among the first steps in the mourning process – a social interaction that is psychologically important for the bereaved. The gathering corroborates the fact that the death has occurred, confirms the significance of the loss, and allows family and friends to support and comfort the bereaved so that they can come into alignment with the separation. Memorializing our loved one, by way of ritual, is a time of celebration that marks the passing of our loved one through metaphor and symbol, respect, gratitude, affection, or praise. Therefore, reflection through grief and mourning, along with the gathering of those closest to us, and performing a ritual are three important elements when creating a fitting tribute to our loved one. Fond Remembrance is here to help.
The other day, an elderly lady stopped by to complete a few remaining details about her son’s funeral. As we took care of the remaining items, she began to tell the story of her son who had succumbed from a rare form of brain cancer. Her son was her only child and since he never married or had children, in his later years she took care of him at her home. Her husband lived there also but was afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Compacting the care that she had extended to her son and husband, came a sudden illness to herself; At first her illness was thought to be a minor concern, but soon thereafter resulted with unexpected bypass surgery. Upon recovery from surgery, she further developed additional illnesses that placed her into a complete care facility for an additional six weeks. Upon the day that she was finally released to return home, she learned that her son had been placed into hospice on that very same day. Soon thereafter, her son died with she and father at his bedside – a caring environment from within her own home. She and she alone had no one to help carry the burden of grief . . . And I sat there listening to her story . . . without much to say . . . but listening intently to each word she said as she conveyed her grief in a way that only a mother could.
That experience reminded me of the work of Dr. J. William Worden did when studying bereavement. Dr. Worden identifies that the work of mourning has four tasks: to accept the reality of the loss, to process the pain of grief, to adjust to a world without the deceased, and to find an enduring connection with the deceased in the midst of embarking on a new life. Listening is sometimes the most important assistance we can render to those afflicted with grief.
To learn more about the tasks of mourning, Fond Remembrance conducts an advance care planning workshop. Contact Fond Remembrance for more information.
Michael Godsey is the founder of Fond Remembrance Cremation Services.