NDSU Extension - Sargent County


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Journey Through Grief

Journey Through Grief  9/29/17



Monday night I was visiting with a friend of mine.  Her husband died about eighteen months ago, and her young adult daughter died just 3 months ago.  In losing a child, she and I have something in common.  My own son, my oldest child, died of cancer at age 22.  As the seasons change and the anniversary of my son’s death approaches, I become restless.

On Monday night, my friend said what I have said many times, “Everything is changed forever.”

The loss of someone or something we love causes intense feelings.  The journey to healing requires going through grief.  Going around grief won’t work.  Neither does ignoring it or turning to alcohol or drugs to avoid it.  Healing requires going through grief, and it also requires mourning. 

Grief and mourning are two distinctly different things.  Grief is the way we think and feel on the inside when someone we love dies.  It just happens, and it just “is.”  Mourning, however, is how we show or express the thoughts and feelings we experience as we grieve. 

We need to let mourning happen, if we are to heal. Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt has identified needs that mourners must satisfy if they are to heal.  These needs are:

-  Acknowledging the reality of the death
-  Embracing the pain of the loss
-  Remembering the person who died
-  Developing a new self-identity
-  Searching for meaning
-  Receiving ongoing support from others

Each of the six needs is complex, and each person’s journey through grief will be a very personal and unique experience.  Detailed descriptions of each of the six needs can be found online at https://www.centerforloss.com/2016/12/journey-grief-six-needs-mourning/.

More information about grief and loss, and links to other trusted sources of information, can be found at https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm.

Photo source: https://pixabay.com/en/mourning-woman-sculpture-360500/ (downloaded 10/4/17)




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