Grief is natural response to loss. Any major change in life can trigger a sense of loss and the resulting grief sparks a mass of conflicting emotions.
Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something with whom a person has formed a bond.
Grieving is an act of love. It begins when you lose someone or something you love − the stronger the love, the greater the grief. The act of grieving honours you and the significance of your loss.
What is loss?
Losses can range from employment, health, pets, status, a sense of safety, order or possessions to the loss of loved ones.
What influences grief reactions?
Each one of us is unique and our response to loss is varied as they are influenced by personality, family, culture, and spiritual and religious beliefs and practices.
Grief is painful and one might experience all kinds of difficult emotions such as shock, anger, fear, sadness and guilt. Accepting them as part of the grieving process and allowing yourself to feel what you feel is necessary for healing.
How to help someone who is grieving?
A person cannot take away the pain of another’s loss, but you can provide comfort and support. There are many ways to help a grieving friend or family member starting with letting the person know you care and offering them a listening ear.
‘In general, people are lonely. They do not want to focus solely on material things. They need listeners – people who will give time to listen. They have a real need to share what is going on in their lives. This was brought home to us when we gathered six or seven couples together to share the ordinary ups and downs of life. There was no criticism only sharing, listening, prayer and therefore growth.’
When to worry about a person who is grieving?
It’s common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others or as if they’re going crazy. We worry about them when they are hurting themselves or others.
The tasks of grief
- Accept the reality of the loss.
- Experience the pain of grief.
- Adjust to an environment in which the significant person is no longer present.
- Reinvest the emotional energy.
Where to get help
- Bereavement groups in the parish.
- Catholic Social Services (counselling).
- Seasons for Growth – an education programme about grief rather than a practical counselling or therapy session. A trained adult (companion) accompanies small groups of four to seven people as they work through the process and the tasks of grief.)
For more details contact Katrin Eickhorst