Coping with grief is a big elephant sitting in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. No one really likes to talk about grief, or coping with grief. It would seem people would rather take an IRS agent to lunch than talk to a friend or family member about someone or something they are grieving for.
You have so many questions and you need answers! What is grief? How long does the pain of bereavement last, or does it ever go away? Are there things that influence how you grieve? What are the coping mechanisms that help you deal with it? How do you know what you are experiencing is grief? You need to talk to someone but where do you go? I will do my best to answer all your questions. If I miss something or you need to "talk" to someone, feel free to email me and I will see what I can do to help you.
What Is Grief?
The word "grief" comes from the French word gre've meaning "heavy burden". Grief has also been described as a feeling of being deprived, of loss. Maybe you can relate this feeling of deprivation to what you are currently experiencing. Maybe you would describe it as a terrible emptiness or an ache in your heart; a weight that is unbearable.
We all experience grief throughout our life, in much the same way we experience joy. Without realizing it, you may have experienced grief as a child when you "lost" your friend because you had to move away. Maybe that feeling of being deprived came with the loss of your favorite toy, the toy you still talk about to this day or when your favorite teacher left your school. These are not so obvious forms of grief but, none the less, they are still grief experiences. Then there is the more obvious cause of grief, the death of someone or something you loved deeply. Maybe it is the death of a pet or a close relative. Maybe it is the death of a co-worker or a friend. Grief is triggered when you feel that bereavement as the result of a "loss".
If you think back to each grief experience throughout your life, the degree of pain and the length of time you suffered with this pain varied. Maybe it was anticipating the pain you would feel on the day you had to move away from your best friend that hurt worse than the day itself. Perhaps the loss was sudden causing you to deal with the shock first before you could deal with the grief. Could outside forces influence how you experience grief, or your coping with grief? Yes!