Monday, January 23, 2006

Grief is crazy

There was a great commentary in the Chicago Tribune yesterday: The ‘crazy” thing about death.

In it the author asks “How does the human mind cope with the loss of a child? With the loss of a best friend?” Grief from such a loss never goes away. It may recede for a bit, but it is always there. You don’t get over it. You are “mostly alone” as you work to figure out “Why?”. Grief is work and can be a lifelong work. It does make you ‘crazy’.

I thought I was ‘over’ the grief from the loss of a loved one, until I spoke about the value of and my personal experience with hospice care at an event a few months ago. But the grief was still there and it boiled to the fore as I spoke. The emotion, the experience of loss made me a bit ‘crazy’ again.

As I know from personal experience and as has been reinforced by my professional experience, don’t expect others to get over a loss, to get over their grief. Help them, support them as they work through this life experience, but there is no “blueprint” It is an experience, a journey without an end. They will need to need to traverse the uncharted journey’s route. They will be changed, their life will be changed. They will be “crazy”; death is a “crazy” event. Accept and accommodate the craziness. But if the craziness becomes crippling, they will need professional help (help them get there). That is how you can help them, not with platitudes but with support.

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