a normal and natural internal reaction to a loss of any kind. Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change
in a familiar pattern of behavior.
The only thing that isn't normal about grief is how our society responds to it.
We are a grief and death denying society. We avoid talking about grief and yet if left unacknowledged, can turn our lives
upside down. People may develop addictions, relationship difficulties, depression, anxiety, panic attacks and more
when grief is left unresolved. In our world of instant messaging, fast food and speed dating, we often wish or pretend
that we can do "speed grief". However it isn't possible and we must go through the pain in order to grow and heal.
"We can endure much more than
we think we can; all human experience testifies to that. All we need to do is learn not to be afraid of pain. Grit your teeth
and let it hurt. Don't deny it, don't be overwhelmed by it. It will not last forever. One day, the pain will be gone
and you will still be there. - Harold Kushner When All You've
Ever Wanted Isn't Enough
There is no hierarchy of grief
loss is unique. The truth is, the worst loss is the one that is happening to you, the one that has picked you up and thrown
you down and left you struggling to put your life back together." - Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, author of The Empty
Room: Surviving the Loss of a Brother or Sister at Any Age
"No one ever told me that
grief felt so like fear." C.S. Lewis, famous writer
(coined by Ken Doka in 1987,
professor at The College of New Rochelle and senior consultant to the Hospice Foundation of America)
What types of losses are disenfranchised or unacknowledged?
* relationship is not recognized ( closeness of non-kin relationships, lovers, friends, co-workers,
classmates, in-laws, foster parents, step parents, neighbors, colleagues, step children, caregivers, counselors, and roommates
in college or nursing home). Also non-traditional relationships such as extramarital affairs, cohabitation of unmarried
people and homosexual relationships, ex-spouses, past lovers, former friends. All of these relationships could or should cause
* Loss is not
* Griever is
excluded ( person is socially defined as incapable of grief, so there is little or no social recognition of
his or her sense of loss or need to mourn. Both the very old and the very young are typically
perceived by others as having the capacity to grieve. Also people with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses
may also be disenfranchised in grief. Although studies show that these people do understand the concept of death,
and experience grief, often these reactions are not perceived by others.
Quotes on Grief
let anyone take your grief away from you. You deserve it, and you must have it." Doug Manning, Don't
Take My Grief Away
"Our grief lives with us long as we live...by the very act of
weaving our losses into that tapestry, we ensure that our losses are part of our wholeness." Deborah Morris
Coryell, Healing Through the Shadow of Loss
"There are two great questions: Where do you hurt? How can I help you?"
"Yet some people emerge
from their grieving process with unexpected gains. By weathering emotional tribulations they had thought unendurable, they
have a deeper, surer sense of their strength. By facing despair, and not succumbing, they know their inner capacities in a
more complete way. These gains do not in any way diminish the facts of the loss. But, yes, are benefits. Dearly purchased,
hard-earned benefits." Steve Schwartzberg
"There is no agony like bearing an untold
story inside of you." -Maya Angelou