Bereavement Powerpoint

Bereavement: Understanding
Grief and Helping others
Common Misunderstandings,
Typical Symptoms,
Important tasks to aid recovery
Suggestions for Helping Others
Death is not a 4 letter word!
Passed away
Crossed over
Kicked the bucket
Bought the farm
Gone to a better place
Only sleeping
Gone to their eternal rest
Most Common Cultural Misinformation
and Advice :Why they are wrong!
• Time heals: Time by itself does not heal.
• Grieve alone: “Laugh and the world laughs with
you, cry ……………..”
We need others help.
• Be strong (for others) You can’t stuff your
• Don’t feel bad because….in a better place etc.
You can’t turn feelings off and on.
• Replace the loss …get a new puppy… Each life
is unique
• Keep busy: You can’t ignore your feelings
they won’t go away by themselves
What is Grief?
• The normal and natural reaction to
significant emotional loss of any kind.
• The conflicting feelings caused by the
end of, or change in, a familiar pattern
of behavior.
• The feeling of reaching out for someone
who has always been there, only to find
they are no longer there.
Losses other than death that lead to
Financial Change
Loss of health
Empty nest
Starting / ending School
Many more life changes
There are no absolutes,
each loss is unique,
Yet these are Typical Initial
Reduced concentration
A sense of numbness
Disrupted sleep (less or more)
Changed eating (less or more)
Roller coaster of emotions
Other less frequent phenomena
Hearing loved ones voice
“Seeing” loved on the street or in a crowd
Vivid dreams of loved one
Temporarily “forgetting” the loss (for
example setting their place at the table.)
Beginning to Recover
• It’s never too soon: when you hurt your body
you apply treatment immediately
• Talking about the loss and your
relationship with the deceased
is often helpful
• Find a safe person/place to share your
feelings. Someone who can listen without the
negative cultural messages.
Beginning to RecoverTasks to deal with
emotional shock and disorientation
• adjust to changes brought by the loss
• function appropriately in daily life
• keep emotions and behaviors in check
• Not denying emotions, rather limiting enough to
• Minimizing compulsive behaviors (drinking, shopping,
• accepting support
Some Possible Symptoms of
Unresolved Grief
• Excessive loss of energy
• Getting “lost in your head” as in driving
and realizing you don’t remember the last
5 miles.
• Loss of “aliveness and spontaneity”
leading a life of “quiet desperation.”
• Trapped in feelings of anger,
bitterness, or resentment
• Feeling like a victim
Managing Grief: What helps at the
time of death
• Remember we are all unique and each loss is
unique so none of what follows is absolute.
It can be helpful to view the body
Share with relatives and friends
Follow the customs
of your faith
Celebrate the life
and your relationship
Cry and laugh
Suggestions for full
recovery:Different, Better, More
No relationship is perfect. In order to recover
from grief it is usually helpful to explore
our feelings about what we wished had
Different, Better, More
In the areas of physical, emotional, and
spiritual aspects of our relationship with
the deceased.
Suggestions for full recovery:
Hopes, Dreams, and Expectations
No relationship is ever complete. No matter
how good it was we had
Hopes, Dreams, and
For our future together.
It is often helpful to identify
and share them.
Suggestions for full recovery:
Apologies, Forgiveness, Significant
emotional statements
No matter our relationship there are often important
things left unsaid.
Apologies, Forgiveness,
Significant Statements
Although the person is no longer here it can be
helpful to say these things out loud to another
person, or to write them down in a letter to the
Emotional Immersion and
• When the initial impact of the death has
passed, emotions are often deeply felt.
The bereaved are often very internallyfocused.
It is common for the bereaved to undergo a
"deconstruction" of their values and beliefs,
as they question why their loved one was
taken from them.
Need to contend with reality
Can be important to find meaning of the loss
for their lives
May need to reconstruct personal values and
Move towards acceptance and letting go the
Recovery is….
• Feeling better
• Finding new meaning in life
• Enjoying fond memories
without the pain
• Knowing it is ok to feel sad
from time to time
• Knowing it is ok to talk about your feelings
regardless of the reactions of others
Recovery is….
Develop new social relations
Strengthen existing relations
Make decisions about changes in life style
Find a renewal of self-awareness
Accept responsibility for self
Be helpful
Understand Grief is unique
“I can’t imagine how you must feel”
“I am here for you.”
Listen carefully
Be present without expectations
Be responsive to reasonable requests for
practical assistance
Some Common but Questionable
Theological Views
• Death is God’s will and should not be
• The person was so special that God called him
or her to be with Him.
• There must be a grand plan or purpose (a why)
for every death
Some more helpful perspectives
•This is a mortal, frail, imperfect world, and tragedies occur.
•There is no satisfactory explanation when loss occurs.
•The question is not why me, but rather if me, what can I
learn from this?
•How can you work through this loss and achieve as full a
life as possible?
•How can you use this experience to help someone else?
•How do you find meaning in life without this person?
•How do you start anew?
The Grief Recovery Handbook
John James and Russell Friedman
Harper Collins © 2009
Phil Rich, EdD, MSW, DCSW
Martha M. Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC