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Grief / Loss

Below are the articles in the Grief / Loss category. Each article title is followed by a brief summary introduction to the content. Click "Read Excerpt" for a more comprehensive review. Click "Add to Package" to buy or redeem the article.

Grief / Loss

Grief Takes No Holidays

Holidays and special occasions can stimulate memories of grief and sadness, this article helps you make the best of them while understanding your feelings.

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For those experiencing sorrow, whether through death, separation, divorce, illness, job loss or relocation, the glittering commercialism and unrelenting cheer of the holiday season can be stressful.

Facing Thanksgiving Day and Christmas with an empty chair at the table can make unbearable grief so much worse, says by Karen Silbert, MD, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, who suffered the loss of her five-month-old daughter.

Many people believe that anyone who has experienced great loss should be "over it" in six months or so. If only that were true. Emotions of the recently bereaved are terribly raw. It can be difficult for them to cope in social situations during the holidays, when tears would be out of place, Silbert says. At holiday time, many who are dealing with loss are often caught in a dilemma between the need to grieve and the pressure to "get into the spirit" of the season.

But holidays can stimulate memories and a renewed wave of pain, which feels even more pronounced. And it's not only holidays that may trigger deep feelings of new or renewed grief. Birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions present a challenge for many, even after a number of years have passed.

Handling Adversity: You’re Stronger than You Thought

Catastrophic events like 9/11 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can knock us to our knees. But personal adversities can pack an equally powerful punch.

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Catastrophic events like 9/11 and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina can knock us to our knees. But personal adversities can pack an equally powerful punch. Our spouse is diagnosed with cancer, our son has a mental breakdown, we lose our home. Often these events seem to come out of nowhere and feel completely unmanageable as we struggle to regain our footing and any semblance of “normal.”

But, like great trees, humans can grow stronger when exposed to powerful winds. That is easy to say, we may think, as we recall those who did not grow stronger but instead broke in the wind. How do we increase our inner strength and flexibility so that we not only survive the adversity but thrive? Here are several strategies that can help.

Take responsibility. Look at your role in the situation. Was the event, in fact, predictable? You may have had more control over the situation than you realized. At the same time, don’t take more responsibility than is warranted. If your daughter develops a brain tumor it’s not because you did something wrong. Be honest, but don’t point fingers, not even at yourself.

How Are You Coping with Grief and Loss?

Loss comes in many forms. This quiz helps you understand your feelings surrounding grief and loss.

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Loss can come in many forms: the loss of a loved one, one's own health, a home, a job or a cherished dream. Grief is a natural response to any kind of loss.

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Grief experts have since added shock or disbelief, and we know now that a myriad of feelings can be experienced simultaneously in a great wave of emotion, especially with the loss of a loved one.

While it is natural to experience some or all of these emotions, there are ways to facilitate the process. Respond True or False to the following statements to discover how well you cope with grief and loss.

Set 1

1. I don't feel much interest in activities that I used to really enjoy.

2. I have trouble falling asleep and, when I do, my sleep is restless and I wake up feeling tired.

3. I cry often and am afraid I won't ever be able to stop.

Living With Grief: How to Survive a Significant Loss

Offers ways to cope with loss, in whatever form it shows up in your life.

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Even if you aren’t currently grieving, it can be beneficial to think about the grief process. At its core, grief is a part of the experience of being alive...and human. And while grief isn’t pleasant, it can give us insight, compassion and strength that we wouldn’t otherwise have found.

Here are some ways to access those greater qualities, survive a significant loss or help someone experiencing grief.

1. Expect a process.

In stark contrast to how frequently TV characters talk about “getting closure,” in reality, grief is an ongoing experience. The goal of grieving isn’t to “get to the bottom of it” or to stop feeling a certain way. Instead, it’s a process of learning to live with your emotions every day and every moment. Even years later, reminders like a special day or the smell of a favorite meal may trigger a fresh wave of memories and feelings linked to the loss.

Starting Over: Tips to Finding Grace in Difficult Times

How to recuperate, grow from, and even appreciate the most difficult experiences in our lives.

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Natural disaster. Divorce. Death of a loved one. Job loss. Career change.

There's not one of us who has escaped major change in our lives. And whether you bring on major change yourself or circumstances beyond your control are thrust upon you, starting over is never easy.

In fact, major life change can bring with it extreme heartache, debilitating stress and despair.

But you can do it. You have the means within yourself to recuperate and grow from any life-altering situation. Truly.

If you or a loved one is facing an experience that requires "starting over," keep the following points in mind. They'll help you get through a very difficult time with greater peace-of-mind and grace.

Take time to let go.Starting over often happens due to traumatic events. Even when you initiate the change that requires starting over, grief is natural. Take the necessary time to grieve your losses. Your timeframe for mourning may be different than someone else's, so be true to your own needs.

Take Time to Grieve

In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy—our own or a nation’s—we cannot ignore or hurry grief.

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Grief is a complex process that takes many forms. When a mass tragedy occurs, not only do we grieve for the victims, but we also re-grieve from previous losses we’ve suffered. And when a parent dies, we grieve the past that dies, too. When a spouse dies, the present disappears. A child who dies takes a parent’s future with him.

Some say that the passage of time is the great emotional healer. In fact, it’s what you do with that time that is important.

The Feelings

During grief it is common to have many conflicting feelings: sorrow, anger, loneliness, anxiety, even guilt. Experiencing waves of these strong and often confusing emotions can make us feel out of control. In an attempt to regain a sense of control, we may deny the feelings.

Well-meaning friends and family may suggest looking on the bright side, or that what happened was “God’s will” or “meant to be.” Or, in our efforts to make sense of everything, we may attempt to remain focused on the notion that “maybe everything is for the best.” Any of these suggestions, however, may lead the grieving person to cut off feelings or to feel pressured to hide or deny their emotions. This will only cause the process to take longer and get in the way of healing.

The Empty Nest: What Happens When the Chicks Fly

How to adapt and flourish after the children have left home.

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From the second they arrive on the planet, just inches long and utterly dependent, our children occupy a place in our hearts deeper than most any other relationship.

We nurture, guide, feed and protect them for years. The relationship brings us a complex mixture of joy, frustration, sadness, delight, anger, pride and love. Our children occupy our focus like nothing else, as they grow taller and more independent with every year.

And then they go away.

Of course, we knew that from the beginning. And that’s been the goal all along. But that doesn't make an empty nest any easier when it finally comes.

Fortunately, an empty nest is also the beginning of another era for parents, one that can be equally fulfilling.

The Journey from Loss to Healing

There is one hard and fast rule when it comes to coping with the death of someone you love: there are no rules. But there are guidelines that can help a person cope.

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Every death is different, and every relationship is different, so the way each of us experiences loss and grief will be different. Grief is a journey, and when someone dies, those of us who mourn will take that journey in a unique way. It’s a journey through some of the most emotionally intense and painful passages of life, and sometimes it will seem as if nothing and no one can help. However, there are some common guidelines that can be an anchor to anyone who is suffering through loss....

Death: Part of the Fabric of Life

For centuries, death was woven into the fabric of life. People were born at home and died at home, and families and cultures developed rituals to help them deal with the loss. However, in the past century, as death moved into hospitals and mortuaries, people became more removed from death. For many people, this made the process of grieving and healing much more difficult.

But we are coming back around to understanding. Books, grief counseling, the growth of the hospice movement and personal rituals all attest to the ways we are confronting death in new ways.

Top 10 Ways to Handle Adversity

We’ve all experienced difficult times in our work or home lives, often through events and circumstances outside our control. But like great trees, humans grow stronger when exposed to powerful winds. Here are 10 suggestions for dealing with the hard times when they happen.

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1. Take responsibility. Assume an “I can do something” attitude rather than pointing fingers. If nothing else, you can control your own response to the situation.

2. Limit the focus. Don’t let the problem become all encompassing. When you compartmentalize the difficulty, you can focus on a workable solution.

3. Be optimistic. The ultimate belief in life as positive, even with hard-times and troubles, will result in positive behaviors and positive actions.

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