Grief & Loss

Grief and loss can be associated with any stage of life. Even the death of a pet or moving to a new house can cause a person to grieve. Grief is associated with any kind of loss and will vary in length and intensity. Students experiencing homesickness during the first few weeks of college are experiencing a loss (parents, home, friends, etc.) and are, in a sense, grieving.

Grief is a normal, natural part of life. It is important that grief be regarded as a healing process. There are seven recognized grief stages. An individual will experience each stage during their grief; however, it may not be in order and some stages may be visited more than once. The stages of grief are (1) Shock or Disbelief that the loss has occurred. (2) Denial is the stage in which the person refuses to accept the loss has occurred. (3) In the Bargaining stage, the person attempts to reconcile the loss by making deals with other people, sometimes also with Diety. (4) Guilt is marked by statements of "if only I had done/been . . . ". (5) Anger is a natural stage everyone must pass. Anger may be directed toward the loss, the person lost, or even Diety. (6) Depression is a stage that comes and goes throughout the grief process. Resignation at the end of the depression indicates that the truth of the loss has been accepted and the person is ready to move on. (7) Acceptance and Hope means that you understand your life will never be the same but it will go on with meaning and hope.

Grief Solution . . . DO's

  • Give yourself and the person you care about permission to grieve in your/their own way, taking the time that is needed.
  • Sort out the different problems associated with grief and handle those easily remedied first.
  • Allow yourself to talk about the loss, and encourage others to do so. This is particularly helpful is the loss is the death of a loved one.
  • Draw on relationships with friends and family.
  • Consider joining a support group.
  • Develop ways or rituals to celebrate your loss (birthdays, anniversary, life celebrations, etc.).
  • Turn to God or spirituality in any way you find meaningful.
  • Be patient with yourself and others.
  • Look for the gift that comes with every loss.
  • Make an appointment with Allen Riggs at email address for this person (283-7125) for individual assistance.
  • Continue to love and hope.

Grief Solution . . . DON'Ts

  • Don't assume there is a right and wrong way to grieve.
  • Don't allow yourself to be pushed or pressured to move on or stop grieving until you are ready. It should feel natural to you to move on . . . that is when you are ready.
  • Don't be silenced by the loss. Talk about it openly with family and friends.
  • Don't punish yourself or things you could have or did not do.
  • Don't tell someone who is grieving that you know how they feel.
  • If some of a person's grieving makes you uncomfortable, don't try to change their feelings.
  • Don't take over the grieving person's life.
  • Don't stop visiting and seeing the grieving person.
  • Don't preach.
  • Don't tell them to call or come over anytime unless you are prepared to back it up anytime.