"Grieving the Loss of a Loved One" by Penny Zielinski, LCSW Bereavement Counselor for AIM Hospice Rockport

What does grief look like? How am I supposed to get through grief? How long will it take to grieve? These are questions we may ask ourselves as we search for answers when we lose someone dear to us. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. Grief is a journey we do not want to encounter, but death is inevitable, and so we will go down this path someday.

Grief is a journey not an event. It has no timetable or easy answers along the way. Many of us are familiar with Kubler-Ross’ stages of grief:
denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The stages are not linear. We may find ourselves in one stage today ready to move on when something triggers anger or depression, and the pain has reared its ugly head again.

It is good to cry. Our tears actually cleanse our emotions, and there is a sense of relief. Suppressing our emotions may lead to physical problems. Your immune system may be compromised. You will go through the grief at some point whether you or willing or not.

Talking to a trusted friend, pastor or counselor or attending a grief support group provides an opportunity to express the emotions you feel. It helps to know you are not the only one wondering, “Am I going crazy?” You will find others that have experienced grief and understand what you are going through.

It is important to seek help and to take care of your physical and emotional needs. No one can tell you when it’s time for you to “move on with your life”. You will grieve a lifetime, but in “your” time you will find joy again, the crying and physical pain will subside, and the journey of healing will begin.

Penny Zielinski, LCSW
Bereavement Counselor for AIM Hospice

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