Grief & Emotional Health
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Grief itself may last a lifetime, but one's coping skills are the key to its impact on one's life. Finding meaning in the loss, or finding a new perspective on the loss, often reduces the effect it has on or day-to-day living. Obtaining support through friends or the community when going through the acute grieving process helps one with coping and finding a healthy perspective.
The duration and intensity of grief varies among individuals. It often depends on what caused the person to grieve. The death of an elderly relative, although beloved, often elicits an entirely different response than the death of a child.
Children who never saw a divorce coming, for example, may be in even greater shock than children who witnessed their parents arguing daily.
“How long should my grief last?” you may ask of yourself. Others may even ask you “You’re not going to grieve forever, are you?” “Haven’t you grieved long enough?” “Isn’t it time to move on and get over your loss?” These questions are can be challenging and unwelcome after a loss. Grief is not just a series of events, or stages or timelines. Our society places enormous pressure on us to get over loss, to get through the grief. We often internalize this and begin to question ourselves. But how long do you grieve for a spouse of thirty years? A brother? A child? A year? Five years? Forever? The loss happens in time, but its aftermath lasts for the rest of our lifetime.
Each grief has its own imprint as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The grief is real because the loss is real. It is important not to measure your grief or compare it to another’s. Grief is the reflection of the love you shared with someone. Your time, your process and your feelings will be different from anyone else’s in the world. It is important to remember that grief is our internal feelings and mourning is how we externalize them.
Your grief will most likely become a part of who you are now. Not in a negative way, but in an authentic way. Your loved one will always live inside you and you will miss them. Eventually others will no longer be able to see your mourning. It is important that grief remains fluid. It is not a straight uphill climb to recovery. Some say the second year can be a little more challenging than the first. Birthdays, anniversaries can take us back when we may feel like we’ve gotten a good grip on ourselves. I don’t believe that there is a timeline and that you will eventually recover or get over a loss. Why would want to? it’s not a cold or a disease, it is someone you loved very much. You will eventually begin to live with the loss. People in grief often report that a friend or family member is not honoring their loss, but ultimately it is important that we honor our own losses. We hold them sacred and we allow them to heal in our time. The truth may be that it will always hurt and in time it will eventually hurt less.