I received a very heartfelt email this week from a reader in California. Her words were very kind, touching, and full of hope. I have re-read her message several times and thought others might benefit from her bravery.
Without revealing her identity, this reader suffered multiple significant losses within a short time frame. Her story pierces my heart with anguish. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, however, she decided to help herself recover by attacking her grief actively. She is driven, she is strong, and she refuses to relinquish her life to the pain that has gripped her heart.
Death slams us with the heaviest, deepest, and darkest grief we will ever experience. Its weight shallows our breath, devourers our happiness, robs us of our ability to function, and may steel our will to live. Death’s impact is so severe that it can yank the life right out of us.
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What causes the physical symptoms of grief?
Survivors suffer extreme fatigue, nausea, headaches, food aversions, sleep deprivation, dizziness, sun sensitivity, loss of motivation, pain, and extreme illness directly related to grief.
Grief increases inflammation.
Inflammation exacerbates existing health problems and opens the door for new ones to creep in.
Grief batters the immune system causing vitality depletion and vulnerabilities to infection.
Grief raises blood pressure and the risk of blood clots.
If unchecked, it can usher in strokes.
Intense grief can alter the heart muscle. (Mourning Light III, 2019)
Many survivors believe that denial is the answer. Denial is not the answer. If left unchecked, denial can bring on severe complications both physically and psychologically. It is the curtain that conceals recovery and perpetuates the downward spin of gripping doom.
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For some survivors, the pain of losing a loved one is so extreme that they deny its reality.
Slipping into extended denial will delay and complicate one’s recovery process.
If a survivor continues to refuse to accept that death has occurred, they might see phobias, illnesses, and personality disorders surface.
Although these issues can be treated, they may continue to be recurring even after the survivor experiences grief recovery. (Mourning Light II, 2016)
Should we not face this foe, we will grapple grief’s fallout indefinitely. Most likely, the means for this epic battle are within our reach. Engaging our life’s skills, and enlisting the tender assistance of our family and friends enables us to accomplish a swifter, and more complete recovery from the ravages of loss.
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Researchers have found that finding meaning in life after the loss of a loved one can help survivors adapt.
The above statement indicates that survivors who identify, prioritize, and connect to their preferences, purpose, and relationships (including the relationship with their decedent), will experience a swifter and more complete recovery from loss. (Mourning Light III, 2019)
As we work on formulating our goals, prioritizing our methods, reconnecting to our relationships, and fulfilling our purpose, we may need the assistance or guidance of someone more skilled than ourselves. Drawing upon a grief practitioner’s knowledge and experience can direct us through our uncharted battleground and help us adroitly maneuver the murky waters of grief.
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A grief psychologist or grief counselor can assist survivors in coping with the emotional and physical symptoms associated with grief.
Professional meetings provide a safe place for survivors to discuss and explore the realities of their grief, openly remember their loved one, and express their feelings without others pressuring them to be okay.
Part of the natural adaptive process of managing grief involves connecting and reconnecting with others.
Until survivors are capable of socially reconnecting, the assistance of grief professionals can offer insights and training, making recovery less elusive. (Mourning Light III, 2019)
My sweet reader from California has engaged her quest to rise out of the depths of a grief scenario riddled with complications. She has made her move, committed to the task, enlisted assistance, prioritized her future, and set her sights on identifying and accomplishing her purpose. She has engaged every fiber of her being and embarked on a skillful conquest over the ravages of the compounded losses she has suffered. In so doing, she has solidified her progression toward success.
I am very proud of her. I revel at her strength to choose her battle rather than allowing it to conquer and consume her. Her fight will certainly not be easy; however, she is the battlefield master. She has secured the higher ground and will thereby hold the horrors of illness, deprivation, depression, and even death itself at bay.
In the end, she will be the victor. She will conquer her pain and live out the rest of her days triumphantly.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a Certified Grief Counselor (GC-C), Funeral Director (FDIC), published author, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of the “Mikey Joe Children’s Memorial” and Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books, weekly bereavement articles, and Grief BRIEFs related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award.
It is my life’s work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.
Please follow me on Instagram at “GoinInStyleFunerals”.