As we celebrate National Grief Awareness Day, the thought of celebrating grief seems contradictory. Maybe it’s best to say we “embrace” grief.
There is nothing pleasant about grief, especially in its first several years. We do our best to go around it, over or under it, but the reality is we will all go through it, hopefully with the help of others.
My co-worker and I have worked in bereavement support and healing for many years. We have both come to a very important realization which is that grief is not something we go through only when a loved one dies. We experience a level of grieving many times during the course of our lives. Besides the loss of loved one, we grieve when leaving home, leaving college, a loss of a job, changing jobs, moving from a familiar home or neighborhood, having friends move away, or when children move out. As we age the list grows longer, loss of health, loss of independence, loss of friends, loss of a home, loss of freedom, and all that might become familiar.
Even though a loss, might also bring a gain, we grieve every loss, whether we realize it or not. Why am I feeling down or depressed? Why am I feeling angry or frustrated? Why am I just not feeling like myself. Often the reason is because we are grieving. Why is it important to understand that? Because there are concrete steps to take when we are grieving, and the first step is to identify the fact that we are.
If you are reading this and something rings true, please reach out and contact us at Notre Dame Hospice and Palliative Care at (508) 852-5505. You can ask for our Bereavement Coordinator, Peggye Arcouette; our Chaplin, John Neilon; or our Pedi Pals Bereavement Coordinator, Alison Calkins, LSW, CDCS.
We’d like to help you grieve with hope, with whatever you might be grieving about.