~ To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness ~ --Erich Fromm Death, Dying, and Grief
Some Questions • What is grief? • How does grief differ from sadness? • How do we get over grief? • Does everyone grieve the same way? • What is the appropriate way to grieve? • What kinds of situations cause us to grieve? • What do we do when we lose someone close to us? • How can the experience of someone dying be made easier? • What do you say to someone who is grieving?
Pre-Death • Wills • Living will • Written while alive and healthy • Expresses what medical treatment is to be administered • Last will and testament • Written while alive and healthy • Expresses where assets should go and what to do with property, children, etc. • Wishes • Cremation vs Burial • Memorial services, open/closed casket, wake • Organ/tissue doner • Organs must be farmed immediately (heart, lungs, liver, kidneys) • Tissues include skin, bones, and eyes
In the event of a death • Do not move anything or anyone; try to keep gawkers away and don’t go near anything • Call 911; they will notify the other authorities • Do not start to spread the word; allow time for the family to let others know • Body identification—usually the closest relative
Planning a Funeral • Journey: Hospital to morgue to funeral home • Newspaper: Writing the obituary • Memorial accounts • Pallbearers/Ushers • Mostly males, friends or family members • Eulogies • It’s ok to decline • It’s ok to cry, but don’t lose control • 2-10 minutes long • Pick a few characteristics or stories • Flowers • Baskets/plants (any kind, can be from anyone) • Wreaths/crosses (usually sent by a group) • Fancy arrangements (from family/for family) • Casket arrangements (from immediate family only)
Funeral Behavior • What Do I say? • Avoid overt emotional outbursts • To Adults (ages 14 or older): • I’m so sorry • You’re in my thoughts • Let me know if you need anything • Are you sleeping? • Take care of yourself • To Children (under 13): • Talk about something else. Don’t mention the deceased to children • Ask about their sports or other interests • Comment on how nice they look • Take young children something to snack on, candy, or a drink
Funeral Dress • Men: • Wear darker clothing • Dress pants and a button up shirt is ok • A tie makes all the difference • Women: • Darker colors are appropriate • Dress, skirt, or dress pants
Funeral Processions • If you are in one: • Your stereo should not be heard outside of your car • Turn on your lights and your hazards • Follow closely; don’t allow too much room between you and the car in front of you • You do not have to obey any traffic signs or signals • If you see one: • GET OFF THE ROAD! Stop your car, pull off the road, even if it’s across several lanes or going in the opposite direction
After a Death • Allow yourself to grieve • Try to get back into your routine; don’t allow your life to stop • Learn to read your emotions; the feelings can come back up at any time • If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, it’s okay to remove yourself • Memorials and rituals are ok, as long as they aren’t all-consuming
Stages of Grief 1. SHOCK & DENIAL-You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.2. PAIN & GUILT-As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs. You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. 3. ANGER & BARGAINING-Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion. You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back")4. DEPRESSION and LONELINESS-Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair. 5. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.