Coping With Grief Adapted from www.bcbereavementhelpline.com/grief: The reactions to a loss are referred to collectively as grief. To grieve or mourn, is to experience a process which unfolds over a length of time. Upon learning of the death of a loved one, each of us embarks on a journey of healing. Although at first it is characterized by painful feelings, once the realization of the death comes, the therapeutic process of bereavement begins. Shock and denial will overwhelm the bereaved individual before he or she begins what is usually called the ‘grief work’.
Grief is highly complex, but an absolutely normal reaction to a death. It affects each person differently. As their relationship was unique with the person who passed away, so too will be the way in which they grieve. Because grief is something that is so personal, it cannot be avoided by ignoring it or by frenetic activity.
The grieving process must occur as there is no way around it; grieving is nature’s way of healing.
Symptoms of Grief include overwhelming sadness, inability to sleep, changes in appetite, quick to cry, lack of desire to do anything, confusion, feeling like you are going ‘crazy’, forgetfulness, depression, irritability, inability to concentrate, and more.
How to Ease Grief: Allow yourself to mourn, realize your grief is unique, talk about your grief, expect to feel a multitude of emotions, allow for numbness, be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits, develop a support system, make use of ritual, embrace your spirituality, allow a search for meaning, treasure your memories.
BC Bereavement Helpline (BCBH), 604-738-9950 in the lower mainland, toll-free 1-877-779-2223 outside the lower mainland. Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm. BCBH is a non-profit, free, confidential service connects you to grief support services throughout BC. The BCBH assists the bereaved and their caregivers in coping and managing grief. Your call is answered by a caring, compassionate volunteer familiar with grieving and grief support groups in BC. Bereavement support groups provide a safe place for participants to share and support each other. The helpline listeners provide information about grief and encourage individuals to speak about their loss as they feel comfortable. One of their brochures Ten Things to Know About Grief is also available in Chinese, Farsi, Korean, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
Canada Bereavement Leave An employee is entitled to up to three days of unpaid leave on the death of a member of the employee’s immediate family, as per the Canada Labour Code. This leave may be for purposes other than to attend a funeral.
Center for Loss & Life Transition Headed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, world renowned thanatologist (specialist in study of the medical, psychological, and sociological aspects of death and the ways in which people deal with it), this U.S. centre has a website with information for those dealing with loss and grief
Hospice Societies. Remember that Hospice Societies, that in addition to the services they offer to individuals who are dying and their family and friends, also offer bereavement support.
For more resources, click on the links to our articles, webinars and blogs below.
- Anticipatory Grief Package: Information for Patients and Families
- Acknowledging the Losses Associated with Caregiving
- How Are You Coping With Ongoing Losses
- Illness and Grief
- Shattering Eight Myths About Grief
Grief and the many losses of Caregiving
Listen to the webinar here.
Download the handout: Grief and the many losses of Caregiving Power Point