DEALING WITH GRIEF

Grief involves not just the loss of someone you care about but also loss of parts of one’s self and one’s world.  Close relationships create a shared identity with shared routines, social networks, memories and plans for the future. Reactions to loss often include imagining that the deceased person is still present. Ceremonies and other forms of memorialization can be helpful in acknowledging the loss and re-locating the deceased person.

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF
– grief often comes in waves rather than progressing through stages
– an initial period of painful preoccupation and social withdrawal is common
– dreams and visitations are common
– some grieving people may not be outwardly distressed
– grief may be prolonged out of feelings of loyalty or responsibility

DEALING WITH GRIEF
– give yourself time
– postpone major decisions
– seek support from others
– dealing with the funeral and estate can help by giving structure
– expect feelings of guilt and anger about the deceased person
– expect further waves of grief at anniversaries, holidays and other reminders
– do not force yourself to be cheerful or to find closure
– find ways of making the qualities you admired in the deceased live on in the world

GRIEF AFTER LOSING SOMEONE TO SUICIDE
– there is no single or comprehensive reason for someone committing suicide
– blaming oneself is common
– feeling angry at the deceased is common
– blaming others for not doing more may be an effort to relieve feelings of guilt
– survivors may feel judged or shunned by others
– survivors may identify with the deceased and question the value of living

SEE ALSO
– Bereaved Families of Ontario
– Coping with Grief and Loss
– Suicide Survivors Face Grief, Questions, Challenges