01 Mar Moving Forward: The Power Of Bereavement Care
Bereavement is usually caused by a personal loss, such as the death of a loved one. It is a multifaceted response due to the break in the bond, usually in the form of death or the diagnosis of a terminal illness. It is a very strong emotion which everyone at some point in their lives will experience. And while it may seem common, the way each person grieves is personal and can last months or years.
One cause for a profound sense of loss can be the diagnosis of a terminal disease. Auburn Care Hospice are professionals who are dedicated to creating a comfortable environment for patients. They work with the patient’s doctors, and provide physical, spiritual, and emotional help for the patient and their family.
Stages Of Grief
Though grief is a personal journey, the stages have been recognized in people from many cultures in all stages of life. While the stages of grief may seem universal, each stage is a personal journey. Responses vary due to each person’s unique emotional state. The stages may not be experienced in the order given. The important factor to recognize is that the stages are given as a guide, not as a precise order of steps to get through bereavement.
- Isolation and Denial
Denial is usually the first response when learning a loved one has died or been diagnosed with a terminal illness. During this stage you will feel a numbness. This is your body’s mechanism for dealing with loss. The isolation part of this stage stems from the reaction of shutting ourselves away from the world. Everything will seem too overwhelming, and the natural response is to shut down. This is our body’s way of only letting in what we can handle. The denial, numbness, and isolation are often what gets people through the first stage of grief.
As numbness wears off, usually anger takes its place. This is another coping mechanism in our body to help process our loss. It can be directed at anyone and anything. Anger can be a temporary stabilizer for our emotions as the numbness and shock recedes.
Bargaining reflects our need to have control. We may try to strike a deal with God, or any higher power to heal or spare our loved one. Many times guilt will go along with bargaining. We may feel if we had done something different then the outcome for our loved one would have been better. Bargaining is a defensive emotional ploy we use when dealing with loss.
The Mayo Clinic defines depression as a mood disorder caused by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest. While grieving the loss of a loved one, this condition can show itself in many ways. For example, we might worry about the cost of final arrangements, or feel guilty about time not spent with our loved one. Another way we show depression is in private preparation for saying goodbye to our loved one.
This stage can be misleading to others. This is not a magical time in the grieving process when we are “OK” with the loss of our loved one. This stage is the acceptance of the new reality in our lives which includes the permanent loss of our loved one. It means that we have adjusted to the new normal in our lives. It does not necessarily mean we are over the loss.
Bereavement care takes place in the time of grief, after the loss of a loved one. It is one of the most distressful emotions we will face in our lives. At Auburn Crest Hospice, there are trained professionals to help aid the family after the death of a loved one. Bereavement care is important. Studies have shown that early intervention with those grieving can lessen the effects of mourning. Though mourning is normal and healthy, sometimes the effects can be severe. With bereavement care, professionals can assist family members.
Tips When Experiencing Grief After Loss
When a death takes place, emotions can run deep and in many directions. The loss of a loved one is a profoundly stressful event. Having some knowledge of what to expect and what the options for handling it are may help to make the grieving process less severe.
- Understand About the Stages of Grief.
As discussed above, there are five general stages of grief. Being aware of those stages is helpful, but also having the knowledge that no one grieves exactly the same is important. There is no precise timeline for grieving. Everyone does it in a different time frame, and in their own unique way. However, if you are aware of the general stages, then it will strengthen your coping mechanisms when dealing with the loss of a loved one.
- Allow Yourself To Grieve
Many times the first few stages of grief wear us out emotionally and we become too drained or paralyzed to go on. At this point we will tend to bury our emotions, but this is very unhealthy. When we bury our feelings associated with grieving, we prevent ourselves from being able to truly move forward in dealing with our loss.
- Talk To Family and Friends
You don’t have to go through grieving alone. Those closest to you will expect you to be emotional. They love you, and want to be there for you even if they are unsure how to help. Don’t hesitate to admit you need them when you are grieving. Even if you can’t express what exactly you need from them, they want to be able to show you their affection and concern. If you need to express rage, your friends and family will be there for you no matter what emotional state you are in.
- Join a Support Group
Another resource for additional bereavement support can be found both online and offline. Support groups are a great way to be with people who are going through the same experience. They can offer you encouragement, sympathy, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. Even if they haven’t experienced the exact same kind of loss, a bereavement group is a healthy environment to progress through the grieving process.
- See a Therapist
Therapists are trained to provide help to those who are grieving. Since they are trained in bereavement counseling, they are able to assist you though the stages of grieving. They will help you develop strategies for dealing with the intense emotions of grieving, as well as help you to recognize any hindrances in your path to emotional and mental healing.
- Express Your Emotions
Burying your emotions will only hinder the healing process. If you cannot verbally articulate what you are feeling, there are other strategies you can use. Writing in a journal is a therapeutic activity for dealing with your loss. You can also write letters to the deceased loved one, poetry, compose a song, or a scrapbook of happy memories. The important thing is to give expression to your emotions, not bury them deep inside.
- Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of your physical, as well as emotional, being is important. When you take care of your physical well-being, it will spill over into your mental and emotional health. Exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep all help to overcome grief and severe emotional swings. Turning to drugs or alcohol during bereavement is a dangerous strategy, and can create a long-term addiction and damage physically and mentally.
- Watch For Triggers
Even if you have progressed through the five stages of grief, there will still be triggers that may bring back strong emotions. Events such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special family events can be triggers. Don’t be afraid to call on your family and friends for support. Remember that they will most likely be remembering your lost loved one then as well, and might need you as much as you need them.
- Think Positively
Though the loss of the loved one can create profound sadness, you can still recognize the goodness in your life. Do not allow guilt to keep you from getting back enjoying your life. To help prompt a habit of positive thinking, make a list of all the enjoyable qualities in your life. Though still grieving a loss, focusing on the positive attributes on your list will help you progress in the healing process.
Auburn Crest Hospice has a full staff of physicians, registered nurses, chaplains, social workers, and volunteers to respond to the needs of the patients and their families. The patients receive the best quality care possible, and treated with love and dignity. Each circumstance is treated on an individual basis to help families and their loved ones through loss and bereavement.