Grief and Loss - Butler ? Grief and Loss Steps of Grief after a Loss We go through [stages] of grief after a loss. There are many lists giving the stages of grief.

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Apr-16 Page 1 Partial Hospital Program CBT 345 Blackstone Boulevard Providence RI 02906 401.455.6224 Grief and Loss Steps of Grief after a Loss We go through [stages] of grief after a loss. There are many lists giving the stages of grief. One list might be: SHOCK SORRY DENIAL ANGER GUILT DEPRESSION ACCEPTANCE Not all persons experience these stages after a loss. Stages may be repeated. No stage needs to last indefinitely. Your stages may not be in this order. All stages are normal. Choose one of your losses and write it here: _____________________________________________________________ Start with SHOCK on the stairway. Think of your loss and the feelings of shock. What did you do? Are you at this stage now? Have you already been at this stage and moved on? Make notes on this step about your experience of being in shock. Continue up the stairway, stopping on each step to sit, think, feel, and make notes. Other stages I have experienced that are not here: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ My stages not finished: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ACCEPTANCE DEPRESSION GUILT ANGER DENIAL SORROW SHOCK Apr-16 Page 2 Partial Hospital Program CBT 345 Blackstone Boulevard Providence RI 02906 401.455.6224 The Mourners Bill of Rights Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Though you should reach out to others as you do the work of mourning, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people. You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain "rights" no one should try to take away from you. The following list is intended both to empower you to heal and to decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you from reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones. 1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief. No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, don't allow them to tell what you should or should not be feeling. 2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief. If at times you don't feel like talking, you have the right to be silent. 3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Don't take these judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition. 4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into doing things you don't feel ready to do. 5. You have the right to experience "grief bursts." Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out. 6. You have the right to make use of ritual. The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you the funeral or other healing rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don't listen. 7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment. 8. You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking, "Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the clichd responses some people may give you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think of what you have to be thankful for" are not helpful and you do not have to accept them. Apr-16 Page 3 Partial Hospital Program CBT 345 Blackstone Boulevard Providence RI 02906 401.455.6224 9. You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find others with whom you can share them. 10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Remember that grief is a process, not an event. Understanding your Grief By Douglas Berman Grief, with its many ups and downs, lasts for longer than society in general recognizes. Be patient with yourself. Each persons grief is individual. Crying is an acceptable and healthy expression of grief and releases built-up tension for everyone. Cry freely if you feel the need. Physical reaction to death may include the loss of appetite or overeating, sleeplessness and sexual difficulties. You may find that you have very little energy and cannot concentrate. A balanced diet, rest and moderate exercise are especially important at this time. Avoid the use of drugs and alcohol. Medication should be taken sparingly and only under the supervision of your physician. Many substances are addictive and can lead to a chemical dependence. In addition, they may stop or delay the necessary grieving process. Friends and relatives may be uncomfortable around you. They want to ease your pain but do not know how. Take the initiative and help them learn how to be supportive of you. Talk about your loss so they know it is appropriate to do the same. Whenever possible, put off making major decisions (changing your residence or job for example) for at least one year. Avoid making hasty decisions about your loved ones belongings. Do not allow others to take over or to rush you. You can do it little by little when you feel ready. You may feel that you have nothing to live for and may think about a release from the intense pain. Be assured that many feel this way but that a sense of meaning and purpose does return. The pain does lessen. Guilt, real or imagined, is a normal part of grief. It surfaces in thoughts and feelings of if only. In order to resolve this guilt, learn to express and share these feelings, and learn to forgive yourself. Anger is another common reaction to loss. Anger, like guilt needs expression and sharing in a healthy and acceptable manner. Children are often the forgotten grievers within a family, yet they are experiencing many of the same emotions you are, so share thoughts and tears with them. Though it is a painful time, be sure they feel loved and included. Holidays and anniversaries of your loved ones birth and death can be stressful times. Consider the feelings of the entire family in planning how to spend the day. Allow time and space for your own emotional needs. Death often causes one to challenge and examine his/her faith or philosophy of life. Dont be concerned if you are questioning old beliefs, talk about it. For many, faith offers help to accept the unacceptable. It helps to become involved in a group of others having similar experiences sharing eases the loneliness and promotes the acceptance of your grief in an atmosphere of acceptance and understanding. Apr-16 Page 4 Partial Hospital Program CBT 345 Blackstone Boulevard Providence RI 02906 401.455.6224 Rituals to Commemorate Rituals are effective and meaningful when they have significance to the deceased and to the survivor. The following are merely suggestions and might be altered and enhanced to appropriately accommodate the relationship involved. Prepare a favorite meal of the loved one and enjoy it as he/she did. Prepare a favorite dessert share with family or friends. Watch a movie(s) enjoyed by your loved one. Plant flowers, a tree or a flowering bush in memory of your loved one. Enjoy a toast to your loved one on a birthday, anniversary or holiday. Light a candle and recall the comfort or guiding light he/she was for you. Read book(s) or article(s) on a favorite topic(s) he/she enjoyed. Play music appreciated by your loved one and see if you can enjoy it now. Attend a concert/performance that would be pleasurable to you both. Look through photo albums and focus on shared times and memories. Wear a piece of jewelry that was a favorite of the person. Wear cologne or perfume he/she liked on you. Wear an item of clothing given to you by him/her. Buy something for yourself he/she would like you to have. Enjoy lunch or dinner at a favorite cafe/restaurant. Visit the burial place bring a balloon or symbolic item to leave. Journal some favorite stories. Travel to a place he/she enjoyed or always desired to visit. Review how your life is better because he/she was a part of it. Focus on the gift he/she was to you. Purchase flowers on the anniversary. Bring for display at church or home gathering. When people leave, have them take a flower. Send flowers to a close family member on the anniversary. Read a favorite poem(s) or book enjoyed by your loved one. Watch home videos and remember. Volunteer for an organization in memory of your loved one. Become an activist in the cause of death issue by participating in a walk-a-thon, phone-a-thon, etc. If you kept greeting cards given to you by your loved one, take time to read them again. Enjoy a leisurely walk taking time to recall shared events in life together.


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