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What is Bereavement?

Bereavement is the period of grief and mourning after a death. When you grieve, it's part of the normal process of reacting to a loss. You may experience grief as a mental, physical, social or emotional reaction. Mental reactions can include anger, guilt, anxiety, sadness and despair. Physical reactions can include sleeping problems, changes in appetite, physical problems or illness.

How long bereavement lasts can depend on how close you were to the person who died, if the person's death was expected and other factors. Friends, family and faith may be sources of support. Grief counseling or grief therapy is also helpful to some people.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Myths and Facts About Grief

MYTH: The pain will go away faster if you ignore it.

Fact: Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it.

MYTH: It’s important to be “be strong” in the face of loss.

Fact: Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to loss. Crying doesn’t mean you are weak. You don’t need to “protect” your family or friends by putting on a brave front. Showing your true feelings can help them and you.

MYTH: If you don’t cry, it means you aren’t sorry about the loss.

Fact: Crying is a normal response to sadness, but it’s not the only one. Those who don’t cry may feel the pain just as deeply as others. They may simply have other ways of showing it.

MYTH: Grief should last about a year.

Fact: There is no right or wrong time frame for grieving. How long it takes can differ from person to person.

Source: Center for Grief and Healing

Grief can be a roller coaster

Instead of a series of stages, we might also think of the grieving process as a roller coaster, full of ups and downs, highs and lows. Like many roller coasters, the ride tends to be rougher in the beginning, the lows may be deeper and longer. The difficult periods should become less intense and shorter as time goes by, but it takes time to work through a loss. Even years after a loss, especially at special events such as a family wedding or the birth of a child, we may still experience a strong sense of grief.

Source: Hospice Foundation of America

Feelings of Bereavement

Bereavement is the period of sadness after losing a loved one through death.

Grief and mourning occur during the period of bereavement. Grief and mourning are closely related. Mourning is the way we show grief in public. The way people mourn is affected by beliefs, religious practices, and cultural customs. People who are grieving are sometimes described as bereaved. Grief is the normal process of reacting to the loss

Grief is the emotional response to the loss of a loved one. Common grief reactions include the following:

Feeling emotionally numb.
• Feeling unable to believe the loss occurred.
Feeling anxiety from the distress of being separated from the loved one.
Mourning along with depression.
A feeling of acceptance

Grief & How to deal with it.

If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, we offer our heartfelt condolences. Mission Park offers both online and personal information and services that will assist you with your grieving process. The following list offers ideas that can help you deal with your personal loss. Be sure to refer to the Grief FAQs, articles, and other grief resources offered on our website.

  • There is not one correct way to grieve, so you must find the best way for yourself.
  • Be realistic about what you can expect from others during your grieving period.
  • Do not let others determine your grief experience or minimize your loss.
  • Be assertive. Tell others what you need.
  • Look for support from those who listen to you without being judgmental, allowing you to express your feelings with permissiveness and accept what you are going through.
  • Allow yourself some negative feelings and uncharacteristic reactions.
  • Try not to isolate yourself for long periods of time.
  • Realize that you do not need to fit this into your religious or philosophical framework immediately.
  • Identify, accept and express all your various feelings over the loss and its consequences.
  • Many people find that writing out these feelings is a helpful first step of the process.
  • Try to identify and begin to deal with the many areas of your life that have been affected by your loss.
  • Do not forget that even if it doesn't feel like it today, your pain will subside at some point if you continue to work through your grief.
  • Recognize that the grief you are experiencing is unique.

Grief Research

Researchers study grief reactions to try to find out what might increase the chance that complicated grief will occur.Studies have looked at how the following factors affect the grief response:Whether the death is expected or unexpected.

It may seem that any sudden, unexpected loss might lead to more difficult grief. However, studies have found that bereaved people with high self-esteem and/or a feeling that they have control over life are likely to have a normal grief reaction even after an unexpected loss. Bereaved people with low self-esteem and/or a sense that life cannot be controlled are more likely to have complicated grief after an unexpected loss. This includes more depression and physical problems.The personality of the bereaved.

Studies have found that people with certain personality traits are more likely to have long-lasting depression after a loss. These include people who are very dependent on the loved one (such as a spouse), and people who deal with distress by thinking about it all the time.The religious beliefs of the bereaved.

Some studies have shown that religion helps people cope better with grief. Other studies have shown it does not help or causes more distress. Religion seems to help people who go to church often. The positive effect on grief may be because church-goers have more social support.Whether the bereaved is male or female.

In general, men have more problems than women do after a spouse’s death. Men tend to have worse depression and more health problems than women do after the loss. Some researchers think this may be because men have less social support after a loss.The age of the bereaved.

In general, younger bereaved people have more problems after a loss than older bereaved people do. They have more severe health problems, grief symptoms, and other mental and physical symptoms. Younger bereaved people, however, may recover more quickly than older bereaved people do, because they have more resources and social support.The amount of social support the bereaved has.

Lack of social support increases the chance of having problems coping with a loss. Social support includes the person's family, friends, neighbors, and community members who can give psychological, physical, and financial help. After the death of a close family member, many people have a number of related losses. The death of a spouse, for example, may cause a loss of income and changes in lifestyle and day-to-day living. These are all related to social support.

Bereavement Support Groups of South Texas

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