SHARE Atlanta - Grief Support Memories and Gifts

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Several questions haunt us all
after we have had a loss...

1. "When will the pain/grieving end?"

Websters definition of grief:
"intense emotional suffering caused by loss,
disaster, or misfortune...acute sorrow, deep sadness."

and we accomplish our healing by...

Moving from "what ought to be"
To realizing and identifying "what is"
Then discovering and defining a path for "what will be"...***

This is THE Process of Grief and it happens
over a period of time...

We grieve differently depending upon our individual circumstances.

While some will move quickly through their grief (six months or so..), others, for many different reasons, require a longer period of time. This is normal, and noone knows who will require what amount of time.


How Long...Kathy Malone, TCF..:

I know now that grief does not leave us in 2 months or 2 years even,

and that we can not get on with out lives like nothing happened. For we are not the same person we were before the death of our child. These wounds of loss are too deep to hide away and "forget," they WILL surface one day.


Staying in Denial Delays Healing...Jochen in Germany writes:

The stillbirth of our son was followed by a one year crisis..

...with my wife because I worked a lot at that time and she had the feeling that I left her alone. I thought I understood life and what´s it all about. Not true. I didn´t understand anything. Now after one year we´re still struggling but there is hope.

Many parents try to protect themselves from pain and hurt by refusing to face a loss.

This couple, with the dad working extra to "keep himself safe" have probably spent a year in "denial." Denial is normal, particularly at first, but for healing to happen, we must take the responsibility to "face the loss and pain." I encouraged this couple that "it is never too late to grieve in order to heal."

Fear of forgetting our baby and fear from intense feelings causes confusion.

Parents have to learn how to hold on to some parts of all they lost while rebuilding where they are going. For most, there is a true need to remain in deep grief for awhile to validate that "our loss is very real to us." This can be frightening to others as well as to ourselves. We want “what ought to be” so intensely that it is hard to leave any of this experience or thoughts about it behind. This is especially true for the mother.

Moving out of denial and intense grief

As parents move "out of denial," and begin some effective coping skills (See Drop Down Box "Coping Ideas" for suggestions), they can focus their energy on releasing their pain and giving their baby a "safe haven" in their ongoing lifes. This involves changing paths and actively making new and/or different decisions. Options become even more important at this time.

A parents' energy level often increases as they refocus from resisting their changing situation to working toward a solution.

While the depth of grief varies little for months, gradually a level of peace increases from minutes to days then weeks, etc. Healing is happening.


The First Year...

During the first year from 4 to 6 months, parents are acutely aware of their loss with another wave of intensity around the first year anniversary

Most parents "function" better after the 6 month mark and have problems around the 11-12 month again. The "firsts" are hard: first holidays, due dates, etc. Usually after the first year there is a marked difference in how parents grieve.

At one year... Melinda in GA:

Next week, July 10th, will be the one year anniversary of my third pregnancy loss. I thought I was finally working through my grief and "getting over" (what a concept) the loss of our babies.

But as the anniversary nears, I find myself falling apart as if it were only yesterday. When does the pain lessen? When does it get better? AM I CRAZY?

No, this is normal. See Sharing Stories, "The First Year, Month to Month"

2. "Then...will the pain/grieving ever end?"

Grief Work varies in intensity and can continue for one to two years.

Our society expects "complete healing" entirely too quickly.

Again, people vary, but one to two years is not uncommon. Different levels of "working through our pain" can be returned to as time passes...even after two years. (See "Stuck In Grief") Marcia McGinnis


Reflections on the Journey of Grief

Three years later...Janet K. of Miami, Fl shares:

It's not the same wondering or longing it was three years ago. So much has changed since then. I function normally, smile, laugh, hope, dream, all the things I lost when I lost Sean.

I know that there are stages of grief through which we all pass. Sometimes we even repeat some of the phases of grief.

..When a loved one first dies we are overwhelmed with emptiness. Grief leaves us feeling weak. But as time passes the strength returns. I have regained my strength, but (I am) forever changed.

At one year Simone in Australia writes: I had never experienced such a loss before, and it took me many months to come to terms with it.

Gina in IL: But for now who knows how long it'll take to be able to talk about him without crying.

Healing happens in stages over various time periods..

Lon in Houston suggests...I used to tell myself - "It's been 4,5,6,7,8 years, you really should be over this by now." Don't let yourself put a limit on the time you need to grieve.

Allow yourself to feel everything that comes: Anger, sadness, loss, apathy, and yes, happiness and even joy.

We gradually are no longer controlled by our grief...

As we grieve the intensity of our pain does the level of sadness.

At some point we realize that we are no longer consumed by our pain. We actually can choose, for the most part, when we want to think about our loss and if we want to reflect on those events at a particular time. We can redirect our energies at will. This is what healing means.

Nine months later...JoAnn in NY:

It's still going to take time, I guess. The positive thing is, I can see a change "for the better."

"Allowing Grieving to Happen to Heal" Menu

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