Dr. Goschi's Blog

Grieving is So Very Difficult

Please forgive me for being so delinquent with my blogs. However, we lost my mother-in-law this fall and my gosh it takes so much time to recover. Grief is a strange part of living. We all know that we will experience death in our lives but never quite expect how hard it will be to have courage during the process and the courage to recover afterwards.

Grief hits hard whether the death of a loved one is unexpected or drawn out over time. I am struck by the entire process of dying. One moment someone you love deeply is there laughing at your jokes and the next they are gone forever. There is a “unreal” aspect to death. It is disturbing for me to hear people say that a death really didn’t affect them one way or another. That speaks to me of a real disconnection from others. This sort of disconnection is a real sign that the person needs help.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.’s book is, in my opinion, still the foremost authority on grieving. In her book, On Death and Dying she talks about the five stages of grieving. 1. Denial and Isolation, 2. Anger, 3. Bargaining, 4. Depression, and 5. Acceptance. All of this still applies. The individual usually takes about two years (at the most) to pass successfully through these five stages. However, we can get stuck at any one of these stages which will thwart our recovery. It is important if you’re living with anyone going through grief to understand what they are going through and offer them support, understanding, empathy and patience. You may think that they should have been able to deal with their loss already, however, it’s really difficult to predict how well they will pass through the stages.

Grief not only applies to the loss of a family member but it can also apply to the loss of a friendship, love relationship, change of location, or pet. Losing pet often can throw individuals into a grief based depression. People often don’t understand how the loss of a pet in the family could possibly be as difficult as a family member. However, many people have very dependent relationships with their pets. So, empathy is always the best bet.

How do we overcome grief. The best advice I can offer you is to allow yourself to feel. No matter what the emotion and how irrational it may seem please allow yourself to express your honest feelings. Make sure there is one other person with whom you can share your sorrow, anger and confusion. It is important to be heard. If you don’t allow yourself to express your true emotions you may find yourself stuck in one of these stages of grief. If you are stuck or cannot express your feelings honestly then find a therapist to talk with about your struggles.

I want to leave you with a beautiful poem written by Rabindranath Tagore (found in Kubler-Ross’s book)

Let me not pray to be sheltered from
dangers but to be fearless in facing
them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of
my pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life’s
battlefield but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to
be saved but hope for the patience to
win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a
coward, feeling your mercy in my
success alone; but let me find the grasp
of your hand in my failure.

As always please don’t suffer alone. Call Dr. Barbara Goschi at (312)595-1787. I wish you the best.

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