The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow, where all was delight. Stephen
FosterMany people believe that the initial shock and numbness following the death
of a loved one constitutes the entire grief process, but this is only the start. As the reality of the death sinks in, shock
and disbelief give way to growing awareness. With awareness, the real pain of grieving begins.
As we allow ourselves
the time and space to grieve, we gain perspective on the loss. Suppression of emotions may prolong grief in some, but
not everyone heals through open expression of feelings. We each must find our own way to grieve. With time, we adapt to life
without our loved one.
Immediately after the death of a loved one, however, it seems like nothing will make us
feel better. Acute grief feels like it will last forever and will erode us with pain in the process. They say that time heals,
but in the midst of grief, we wonder how it will ever become less intense.
This is why it is important to consider
support from others we trust. People who care about us want to help us feel better, but they may be unsure of how to act or
what to say. Attempts to help may or may not work. Click All the Wrong Places for the risks of sharing the pain of grief with strangers.
For a look at the well-meaning, but
unhelpful, comments people make to the newly bereaved, visit Good Intentions, Unhelpful Remarks.
Emotional, spiritual and physical support can come from anywhere, but sometimes in the midst of our grief, it
may be difficult to ask for the support we need, or we may be unable to accept help when it is offered. Isolation from friends
and family can intensify the pain. Refer to An Act of Courage for information on grief support programs, both online and off, and A Change of Heart for a different perspective on grief.