Dealing with Grief
The death of a loved one is like a mutilation. While it's not easy to deal with grief, we believe that the findings in this section of our website could help you.
If you need extra support in dealing with your grief, feel free to call us. We will do everything we can to help you.
After the unexpected death of his wife, the Irish writer C.S. Lewis wrote in A Grief Observed: "No one ever told me that grief evokes feelings similar to fear. The death of a beloved is an amputation."
Grieving with purpose
No one is ready for grief. The rush of emotions, the thoughts, worries and sadness can surprise us and bring us to our knees.
However, when we choose to take advantage of this situation to strengthen ourselves, amazing things can happen. Something good can come out of the pain.
Sigmund Freud first developed the concept of grief work in 1917, and to this day the idea that mourning is guided by a purpose continues.
Dr. James Worden chose to see the work of grief as task-oriented, where the mourner should:
• Accept the reality of the loss
• Process the pain of grief
• Adjust to a world without the deceased
• Find an enduring connection with the deceased during his transition to a new life
Your current concern is to focus on achieving each of these goals. They will not be achieved in a logical order, each of us is different and we go through the path of mourning differently.
Dealing with grief is difficult. It takes both courage and hard work to successfully adapt to the loss of an important person in your life.
Six Signs along your journey
Dr. Stephen Joseph recognizes, what he calls, six steps to facilitate post-traumatic growth. He, also, reminds readers that "post-traumatic growth does not mean the absence of emotional distress and difficulties in living. It implies that it is possible through struggle to come out stronger and wiser in life."
Before identifying these six steps, Dr. Joseph reminds his readers of three very important things:
• You are not alone
• Trauma is a normal and natural process
• Growth is a journey
He also provides a basic rule: don't do anything you may not be able to handle right now. "If you feel strong emotions, get upset or start panicking ... stop." He reminds readers that "the sense of personal control over your recovery is important. There may be some things you don't feel ready to handle right now, but over time, as you discover new strengths and develop new coping skills, that will likely change."
Step 1: Overview
Is your physical health well? Do you get enough sleep? Are you eating proper food? Have you received the kind of medical, legal or psychological help you need? What is your current situation: physically, mentally and emotionally?
Step 2: Harvest hope
People who are traumatized by loss often feel desperate. It is difficult to resist grief and to expel thoughts of pessimism and negativity. Get inspired by personal development stories written by others, set goals and practice hopeful thinking to achieve them.
Step 3: Redefine
Learn to tell your story differently. Abandon the victim's mentality from the story of the loss you tell yourself and others, and replace it with the word survivor, to gain a sense of control over your life.
Step 4: Identify the change
Keeping a diary can help you see the small changes that happen more easily. You can also track the moments when you feel better and identify the circumstances which made it happen. Recognize and nurture the positive changes in your life throughout your journey.
Step 5: Evaluate the change
Review these changes and identify those you want to keep nurturing. Growth is encouraged when we take the time to think about what we have gained from our loved ones and when we find a way to use what we have learned, it is good to pass this knowledge on to those who need it.
Step 6: Express change in action
Express change in new behaviors or, simply, put your change into action. When you are thinking of specific actions, it helps you make the change that is experienced in your mourning, real to you.
"By focusing on these six steps," writes Dr. Joseph, "you will find that your post-traumatic growth is beginning to take root."
Ending Denial and Finding Acceptance
Acceptance is the very first task of your mourning. Dr. James Worden writes that we must "face the reality that the person is dead, that the person is gone and that he will not return."
A funeral can be very important to begin the process of acceptance. Traditionally, guests are invited to say goodbye to the deceased. Part of saying goodbye is to see with our own eyes that your loved one is actually dead and this is an essential part of accepting death. However, many families today opt for cremation and hold a memorial service after. The ceremony focuses on the cremation urn, keeping the cremated remains or ashes out of sight and making the reality of death less apparent and the path to acceptance less clear.
Acceptance may seem impossible
For many, acceptance means agreeing to reality. But most of us, when we lose a loved one, do not want to agree with this reality and we have a hard time accepting the fact. So let's use a different word - try the word adjustment. This word focuses on the deliberate release of disbelief. Someone who has incorporated the death of a loved one into their life has cleared the way for a new life; a pro-active life where the memory of a loved one is kept dear, perhaps even as a driving force for change.
It does take time. Dealing with the loss of a loved one takes time; acceptance does not happen overnight. It is common to need a whole year or more to resolve the emotional and vital changes that come with the death of a loved one. The pain may become less intense, but it is normal to feel emotionally involved with the deceased for many years after his death. Over time, the person should be able to regain the emotional energy invested in the relationship with the deceased and use it in other relationships.
This essential part of mourning is what allows us to live fully again. It allows us to get out of the darkness of simple existence and go back into the sunshine where life is sweet again. Of course, it's a very different life from the one you had before your loved one died.
At Gesios Funeral Home, we provide experienced psychological support staff for our customers.
For further assistance, do not hesitate to contact us by phone at +30 2310 41 99 99 or even visit us at one of our offices in Thessaloniki.
Urban Non-Profit Company
Frangon 13, Tel. contact +30 2310 510010
The MERIMNA Counseling Center in Thessaloniki provides psychological support to children, adolescents and their families when a loved one is ill or has died. This psychological support is completely free. Families with children up to 18 years of age can seek support, if someone of their family members are seriously ill or have died. At the same time, they inform and raise awareness of the public about issues related to serious illnesses, death and mourning of children and adolescents. More information can be found at www.merimna.org.gr .
- Gelsini Zoi, Psychologist
Panagouli 2, PC 412 22, Larissa.
Tel. +30 2410 535018, Mob.: + 30 6943 998047
- Papamichael Panagiota, Clinical Psychologist. Systemic psychotherapy for individuals, couples, families
Certified Drug Addiction Advisor (ICRC)
Painting 80, Piraeus, Athens.
Mob.: + 30 6973680066