menu/ HEALING FROM GRIEF

A very wise old friend ... said to me recently about a news broadcast he'd just heard, "They say seventy-three people lost their lives today in a plane crash. Don't they know we can't lose our lives? We can only lose our bodies! They should say, 'Seventy-three people lost their bodies today.'"

- from Why Me? Why This? Why Now? by Robin Norwood

gently, gently

- Feeling requires a tremendous amount of energy, so be good to yourself by doing for you what you would do for a friend in the same situation;

- Try not to rush about especially if the activity is purposeless. Your body needs energy for repair of terrible emotional wounds that you have experienced;

- Keep decision-making to a minimum, and avoid major decisions for at least a year following your tragedy;

- Accept the help and support that are available to you - ask for help;

- Your family and friends want to support you, but are reluctant to invade your privacy, so make your needs and / or boundaries clear;

- It is important to find someone who is caring an understanding, whether in a chat room, on a message board, a stranger on the end of a hotline, a relative or friend;

- Own your pain - accept that it cannot be ignored;

- Allow the grief process to run its full course;

- If you feel like crying, by all means do so. Crying will make you feel better;

- If Sunday, holidays and special family days are difficult to handle, to schedule activities that will bring you comfort and enjoyment;

- If your grief is unresolved it will damage your health, so seek the help of a psychologist, counselor, or clergy person;

- Keeping a journal is a great way of expressing and understanding your feelings. Reading this journal later often indicates healing is underway;

- Exercise is crucial to the bereaved - make sure you get out of the house - for a walk, run, session at the gym or in a spa - for half an hour at least every day;

- Don't be afraid of enjoying yourself. The bereaved often feel guilty if they enjoy themselves, as if it is inappropriate. Enjoyment is critical to your emotional recovery, so get out there and rejoin the world;

- Grief comes and goes - this process also takes time, so be patient with yourself;

- When you feel a surge of anger, go with it - expressing anger is healthy, as long as you remain constructive (hit a pillow, scream in the car);

- Plan things to which you can look forward (trips, visits, movies, or meals with a special person);

- Love the person you lost by loving yourself.

And remember:

GRIEF IS A PROCESS ... RECOVERY IS A CHOICE.

coping suggestions for grievers

- Give yourself permission and TIME to grieve;

- Focus on your strengths and coping skills;

- Ask for support and help from your family, friends, church, or other community resources;

- Join or develop support groups;

- Redefine your priorities and focus your energy and resources on those priorities;

- Set small, realistic goals to help tackle obstacles - for example, reestablish daily routines for yourself and your family;

- Clarify feelings and assumptions about your support people (e.g., a partner, family, friends, co-workers, etc.);

- Remember that men and women react differently - women typically tend to be caretakers and put others first and men typically have difficulty acknowledging and expressing feelings of helplessness and sadness and believe in "toughing it out";

- Eat healthy meals and exercise;

- Get enough rest to increase your reserve strength;

- Acknowledge unresolved issues and use the hurt and pain as a motivator to make the necessary changes to heal;

- Continue to educate yourself and family about normal reactions to a loss;

- Talk to your children;

- Be supportive; and

- Set an example by expressing your feelings and showing problem-solving skills in dealing with family problems.

And remember: you are not alone.

This Victim Resources Help Guide 2002 has been provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, US
1-800-854-7771

When I was very young, my father would sit me on his lap and hold a set of antique constellation cards to the heavens and explain to me, in that burnished murmur I still hear in dreams, each star's myth and meaning.

With an inclination of his head and an extended steady hand, he introduced to me the Lynx and Telescopium Herschilii, Bo÷tes Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices and Quadrans Muralis, Hercules and the Corona Borealis, Lacerta, Cygnus, Lyra, Vulpecula, Anser and Pegasus - the winged horse I made mine in fantasy. On his muzzle, the star Enir; on his wing, the Saddle Star, Markab; on his forelimb, Scheat; below his breast, Andromeda, known to the superstitious Ancients as Sirrah vel Alpheratz.

My Pegasus, son of Poseidon and Medusa, activator of the Muses' fount of inspiration, bearer of Divine lightning. "Lo vedi li, il cavallone?" my father would ask, one index finger to the crowing and ecstatic sky, and I would gaze up and up and up, my eyes absorbent, learning to listen, learning to see.

The sensibility he taught me was that of the eternal. And in that sky he loved, a beauty there long before me and long after me - a beauty belonging not to man, but to the universe: impossible to alter or own.

So many years had passed and there I was, still gazing up and up and up, still learning to listen, still learning to see, still abiding by the memory of my rare father. How human could he seem to me? I had never had the opportunity to align the reality of him to my ideal; he both lived and died between the notes of those hymns I composed for him: substanceless man, the suggestion of him in the line of all my features.

- from The Pure Weight of the Heart by Antonella Gambotto-Burke

LINKS ON THIS SITE
Grief: different experiences, different expressions
Anger and depression
Trauma + recovery
Illness: a new perspective
Suicidal urges
Learn more about Antonella Gambotto-Burke ...
A healthy life
The healing power of hope
In debt?
The laughter page
Find your own North Star
Optimism - the key
How to feel better about yourself
Feel like a hug?
An inspiring interview with Louise Hay

LINKS (GENERAL)
After Death.com

How to Survive the Loss of a Love
A superb site for grieving teens and children - Julie's Place
Email Deb about deceased brothers, sisters, or friends ...
Write to Reese - he will help
Buy How to Recover From Grief
Create a memorial for your beloved
National Center for Victims of Crime
Neighbours who Care
Compassionate Friends
Overcoming Sleep Problems, by the father of a murdered girl
Helping Someone When a Loved One has been Murdered
Excellent books that deal with those who are murdered
Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation
Why the death penalty is no solution
Suggestions for Survivors of Murder
Compassionate Friends
Survivors' newsletter
Trauma and Grief