The Grieving Process
It's important to understand that grief is a pervasive experience that impacts the whole person--physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's also important not to be afraid to experience grief symptoms--many people try to put their grief aside and "get over it," but this only delays the healing process. As you go through the grieving process, you'll probably experience three distinct phases of grief.
Shock and Denial
Most people experience this as their initial reaction--shock, a feeling of numbness or unreality, and possibly even denial that the loved one is gone. In this initial phase, our minds begin to adjust to the loss of our loved one.
Because this is such a difficult time, thinking about or experiencing grief constantly is too painful, so we go back and forth between believing the loss has happened and a sense of denial or unreality. It's critical to give yourself time to adjust to the loss and to come to terms with it. This stage can last as long as several weeks.
This is a time of chaos for individuals experiencing grief at the loss of a loved one as they try to adjust to the world without the person in it. During this phase, we are intensely aware of the reality of our loss, but will try almost anything to escape it.
This is a period of exhaustion and intense emotion, and the grieving person will often experience mood swings, sometimes dramatic ones. Normal emotions at this stage include anger, extreme sadness, depression, despair, and extreme jealousy of others who haven't suffered the same loss.
During this stage, people begin to understand all the implications of the loss and begin to rebuild their life. This stage can last a year or more.
This stage is also known as acceptance or reorganization. The disrupted stage people go through comes to an end as they find a new balance. People in mourning become aware that the physical signs of their grief are beginning to fade and that they are less exhausted than they once were. The pain of the loss remains, but the unbearable intensity of it recedes, and people begin to experience hope again. Life begins to seem possible again.
Grief Therapists and Support Groups
GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. GriefShare seminars and support groups are led by people who understand what you are going through and want to help. You’ll gain access to valuable GriefShare resources to help you recover from your loss and look forward to rebuilding your life.
- Annie's Hope - The Bereavement Center for Kids
Annie's Hope is a community based nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide comprehensive support services for children, teens and their families who are grieving the death of someone significant.
- SOS (Survivors of Suicide)
Time heals all wounds is not necessarily true for survivors of suicide. Time is necessary for healing, but time is not enough. Shared feelings enrich and lead to growth and healing. Survivors of Suicide Web Site offers an online Discussion Board for survivors of suicide and helpful, healing information as well as a directory for local SOS support group locations. A place to care. A place to share.
- The Sibling Connection
The Sibling Connection is a not-for-profit organization, based in St. Louis, Missouri. Their vision is that bereaved siblings will receive the support they need. Their mission is to provide resources to grieving siblings through counseling, the SiblingConnection website, education, research, writing, and to raise public awareness about the profound impact of sibling loss.
- Loss or Grief Therapists in Saint Louis