All of us experience the death of a loved one or friend
at some point in our lives, and each of us is affected by that death.
Our individual reactions may differ. After the death of a loved one
or friend, a normal process of grieving takes place. Often grieving
takes place in stages. Different emotions are experienced during different
stages of this process. The stages of grieving are different for each
person. Some of the emotions that can be part of this grieving process
Not everyone experiences the same feelings
or stages, nor with the same intensity. There is no one "right way",
no necessary order to stages, nor is there a correct time period for
this process. Grieving may progress over a period of two years or even
longer, depending on many individual factors, such as depth and length
of relationship with the loved one or friend.
Some people may experience disbelief at hearing about the death of their
loved one. They may believe that the person should not have died. They
may have difficulty imagining life without that person. "They were too
young." "They were too good." "They were too healthy. "I can't survive
without him/her." All of these are common reactions.
Many people have a need for religious services and other rituals which
promote the grieving process, provide social support and allow a death
to be validated. These rituals provide a time for family and friends
to support each other and to say goodbye to the deceased person. Different
cultural or religious traditions have different rituals. Examples of
these rituals include holding a wake where the body is displayed or
sitting Shiva in which the family is given comfort through home
visitations by friends. Some people display a picture of the deceased
in their home, perhaps surrounded by candles and flowers. Other examples
include holding a memorial service, writing in a journal, visiting the
grave site. All of these can help healing.
It is very beneficial to have support when experiencing a loss. A bereavement
support group can share information of all kinds, from legal issues,
to the simple knowledge that someone has the similar feelings, to a
different perspective on your experience.
Individual counseling is also available. If you have experienced the
loss of someone you love or of a friend, come to the Personal Counseling
Program at 0203 James Hall. A counselor can help you to understand your
feelings and reactions and the process of grieving.