What is Grief?
"Grief is reaching out for someone who's always been there, only to find when you need them the most, one last time, they're gone." - Anonymous
The death of a loved one is life's most painful event. People's reactions to death remain one of society's least understood and most taboo topics for discussion. Often, grievers are left feeling totally alone in dealing with their pain, loneliness, and isolation.
Grief is a natural emotion that follows death. It is an emotion that truly hurts. Sadness, denial, guilt, physical discomfort, and fatigue are some of the symptoms of grief. It is like an open wound which must become healed. At times, it seems as if this healing will never happen. While some of life's spontaneity begins to return, it never seems to get back to the way it was—it is still feels incomplete. We know however, that these feelings of being incomplete can disappear or taper off as we heal.
Healing is a process of allowing ourselves to feel, experience, and accept the pain in grief. In other words, we give ourselves permission to heal by going through the grief we feel instead of suppressing or ignoring the grief. Allowing ourselves to accept these hard and painful feelings is the beginning of the grieving process.
The Grieving Process
When we experience a major loss, grief is the normal and natural way our mind and body react. Everyone grieves differently, and yet there are common patterns people tend to share when experiencing grief.
For example, someone experiencing grief usually moves through a series of emotional stages such as shock, numbness, guilt, anger, and denial. Some physical responses are typical also when experiencing grief. These responses can include sleeplessness, inability to eat or concentrate, lack of energy, and lack of interest in activities once previously enjoyed.
Time always plays an important role in the grieving process. As the days, weeks, and months go by, the person who is experiencing loss moves through emotional and physical reactions that normally lead toward acceptance, healing, and deciding to live life as fully as possible. While life is never the same as it once was, we tend to say that once you find acceptance and healing, you are adjusting to and living out your “new normal.”
Sometimes a person can become overwhelmed or bogged down in the grieving process. Serious losses are never easy to deal with, but someone who is having trouble beginning to actively re-engage in life after a few months should consider getting professional help. For example, if continual depression or physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, inability to sleep, or chronic lack of energy persists, it is probably time to see a doctor or even a grief counselor. This does not mean that something is wrong with you or that you are hindered in some way; sometimes the grief of the loss is just too much for us to handle on our own, and we need to reach out for help. We are here to help you during the entirety of your grief journey. Like we stated early, each person experiences grief differently, so we have come up with a wide range of grief resources to help educate, guide, and encourage those on their grief journey.
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- 24/7 Grief Counselors
- We give our families a unique opportunity to call 24/7 grief counselors free of charge! With a special code, families can call a certified grief counselor at any time and as often as they need. For more details or to get the special code, please call our office at 214-350-9951 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Com, the first interactive grief website on the internet, offers discussion boards, articles, book suggestions and advice for people working through every aspect of grief. The site’s founder, Tom Golden LCSW, has provided book excerpts and contact information to help those healing from loss.
- Willowgreen offers support and information for those dealing with life transition and aging, illness and caregiving, loss and grief, and hope and spirituality. The site offers advice, products, and inspirational material.
- AARP: Grief & Loss
- The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website contains a Grief and Loss section with grief-related articles and information.
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Recommended Books for Grief
- Healing Your Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas
- ISBN: 978-1-879651-25-8
- Author: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt
- This flagship title in our 100 Ideas Series offers 100 practical ideas to help you practice self-compassion. Some of the ideas teach you the principles of grief and mourning. The remainder offer practical, action-oriented tips for embracing your grief. Each idea also suggests a carpe diem, which will help you seize the day by helping you move toward your healing today. The 100 Ideas Series also expands into more specified topics such as Child loss, Spousal loss, Traumatic loss, Miscarriage loss, Stillbirth loss, Grandchild loss, and more. For more information, please go to https://www.centerforloss.com/bookstore-tag/100-ideas-series/.
- Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing in Your Heart
- ISBN: 978-1-879651-35-7
- Author: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt
- Think of your grief as a wilderness—a vast, inhospitable forest. You must journey through this wilderness. To find your way out, you must become acquainted with its terrain and learn to follow the sometimes hard-to-find trail that leads to healing. In the wilderness of your grief, the touchstones are your trail markers. They are the signs that let you know you are on the right path. When you learn to identify and rely on the touchstones, you will find your way to hope and healing.
- The Journey Through Grief
- ISBN: 978-1-879651-11-1
- Author: Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt
- The Journey Through Grief is organized around the six needs that all mourners must yield to if they are to go on to find continued meaning in life and living. Following a short explanation of each mourning need is a series of brief, spiritual passages that, when read slowly and reflectively, help mourners work through their unique thoughts and feelings. The Journey Through Grief is being used by many faith communities as part of their grief support programs.
Grief Support Groups
- Grief & Loss Center of North Texas
- As a community 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the Grief and Loss Center of North Texas offers hope, purpose and belonging to those who suffer loss. They provide unconditional acceptance, compassion, understanding and confidentiality in a loving, nurturing environment.
- GriefShare groups meet weekly to help you face these challenges and move toward rebuilding your life after the loss of the loved one. There are many churches that sponsor and administer these support groups. Please visit GriefShare’s website to find a location near you: https://www.griefshare.org/findagroup.
- Journey of Hope: Grief Support Center, Inc.
- Journey of Hope Grief Support Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing group grief support to children, adolescents, and their parents or adult caregivers who have lost a loved one to death.
- When the “shifts” of life occur, the aftermath is unpredictable and rarely stable. Their hope for kids dealing with the loss of a loved one is that as they process the shift they’ve undergone, they’ll be equipped with the tools they need to build a solid foundation of faith and hope. They offer three separate tracks: ages 8-12, 13-15, and 16-18.
- Trauma Support Service of North Texas
- Trauma Support Services of North Texas (TSSNT) was founded in 2007 as a 501(c)(3) to better serve victims of trauma in North Texas. Its founders developed a unique strategy to provide high quality trauma therapy to the people who can least afford them.