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With National Grief Awareness Day coming up on August 30, it’s important to pause and think about grief as a natural reaction to life events. From divorce to death to any other life major event that throws a curve ball at us, humans grieve for what has been lost. It’s natural, to be sure, but it’s also a necessary part of the process of moving on. Part of coping with grief is taking solace in the comfort of others. That’s why bereavement services in Alameda County and elsewhere exist — to help us realize we are not alone.

You can get this comfort from support groups, one on one counseling, workshops and more. The point is to get out there, get help, and get moving back on the road to recovery. Your grief will never leave you completely. We are all changed by loss. But grief mutates, from an all-encompassing black hole of sadness and despair at first, to a realization that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Grief is a normal response to loss, during or after a disaster or some other kind of traumatic event. It can happen in response to loss of life, to drastic changes in daily routines and in ways of life that typically bring us comfort or a feeling of stability, all of which has been suddenly taken away. Common grief reactions, according to the CDC, include:

  • Shock, disbelief, denial
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Distress
  • Periods of sadness
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite

Some people experience multiple losses during a large-scale emergency event or disaster. More recently, due to COVID-19, you may have been unable to comfort a loved one as they passed on or couldn’t properly mourn a loved one’s death in-person with friends and family. In addition to death, there are many other types of loss, including job loss, reduction in support services, miscarriage, divorce, selling the family home, loss of a friendship, death of a pet, a loved one’s serious illness diagnosis, retirement, and changes in your lifestyle. Sometimes these losses happen at the same time, which complicates or prolongs the grieving process and thus delays your ability to heal, adapt and recover.

The Grieving Process

Grief is a natural response to loss, says HelpGuide, which is the emotional suffering we feel when something or someone we love has been taken away. The pain of that loss can be overwhelming, leading you to experience all kinds of unexpected and difficult emotions, from shock and anger to disbelief and guilt. The pain of grief does more than disrupt your mental health — it affects your physical health, too. You may not be able to eat, sleep or even think straight. These are all normal reactions to loss; indeed, the more significant the loss, the more intense that grief is.

Coping with the loss of someone or something, or a tragic event of some kind, represents one of life’s biggest challenges. If the person, animal, situation, or relationship was significant to you, it’s completely normal to grieve that loss. But no matter the cause of grief, there are healthy ways to cope with the resulting pain so that, with time, your sadness can be eased as you come to terms with the loss. You will be able to once again find new meaning and purpose in your life, and eventually move on.

That being said, nobody “does” grief the same. It’s a highly individual experience, and there really is no right or wrong way to go about it. How you grieve will depend on a variety of factors, including the significance of the loss, your coping style and personality, your life experiences and your faith.

But what can be agreed on is that the grieving process takes time. No one can sail through it unscathed without it coming back later to haunt them. We all go through certain steps of grieving, in different orders sometimes, but nonetheless, the healing process takes some time. It’s important to remember there is no “normal” timetable when it comes to grieving. Some people begin feeling better in weeks or months, but for others, the process is measured in years. Whatever form your grief experience takes, be patient with yourself and allow the process to unfold naturally.

There are many different kinds of grief. There’s the short-term phenomenon, better known as acute grief, but even with that type, the pain can return unexpectedly at a later date, points out Psychology Today. Others experience prolonged grief, also referred to as complicated grief, which can last months or years. Without the proper help and support, grief can result in isolation and chronic loneliness.

That’s why bereavement services can be so helpful. Everyone grieves in a different way; for some, it’s a private process, for others, they rely on a supportive networks of friends and family. And still others benefit from participating in support groups, counseling or activities with others who are also grieving.

Contact Pathways Home Health and Hospice

We welcome you to learn more about our bereavement services to help you through this difficult time. Contact us at 888-978-1306.