You have to admit that our culture is conflicted about when and how we’re supposed to grieve. But the important thing, at least to the team at Accredited Home Care, is that people know it’s OK to grieve whenever they need to, and that they also encourage and support those around them when they grieve.
For instance, there are still some who encourage stoicism and keeping a stiff upper lip at all times. Boys don’t cry, girls probably shouldn’t either, there’s no crying in baseball, and everyone should be more stone-faced like John Wayne. This approach, however, can lead to poor lifestyle choices later in life, a need to seek professional help in the future, or at the very least, one’s grief coming out in unexpected ways.
At the other end of the spectrum you may find professionals who encourage people to grieve, but with limits or restrictions. Maybe an employer will nicely provide time off when a loss occurs, but expect that things will be “back to normal” when the time is up, even though someone’s world may be permanently disrupted or feelings may linger well after the allotted bereavement time.
As someone who has experienced loss will tell you, grief is universal in that it can happen to all of us at any time. But at the same time, it’s also personal in that it affects everyone a little different, from a few stray tears and bittersweet memories once in awhile to severe depression and an inability to bounce back at all.
The bottom line is that grief is really real, no matter the cause. It may not go away, but there are methods to make it part of your life while not taking over completely.
The concept of positive grief seems strange when the circumstances are often personal and painful, and the act of grieving can make someone feel miserable and self-conscious, with everything from puffy eyes to sobs. But there are physical reasons while grieving is of value, as well as mental and emotional ones.
Over time, people learn that grief is a way of letting go what hurts us, releasing the pain and trying to hold onto the better memories. It can help us feel other emotions as well – people who try to hold grief in sometimes become numb to other feelings.
Learning to live with grief is easier said than done, but that’s part of being human, right? Perhaps in the future, as in the 2005 movie, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” people can try to have a particularly painful memory of a loss physically erased from their brains. But at least in the film, this procedure instead created plenty of mental and emotional confusion since other parts of the brain still remembered that missing special someone.
The American Psychological Association suggests a variety of methods to help people move forward from grief, starting with accepting your feelings as valid, focusing on yourself and consider seeking mental health/counseling.
You may also find that it helps to think outward, including offering comfort to someone else who may be going through their own difficulties with grief. Reaching out can brighten someone’s difficult time, and perhaps encourage them to continue to pay it forward by helping others.
It’s also important to find ways to recognize and celebrate the reason for your grief, even though time has passed. Maybe do something special for yourself or your family on the anniversary of a special day involving the person you miss, visiting somewhere meaningful or even volunteering for charity in honor of someone or some occasion.
Plenty of support
Patients in a home health care setting may benefit from information about healthy ways to grieve, including details about local resources like mental health providers or support/bereavement groups.
The patient may be by himself or by herself and no longer has a living spouse. Maybe family members, friends or other loved ones have died recently or their current health situation or state in life causes them to reflect and miss people from their past.
They could also be scared about changes in their future, which also could compound any existing grief.
Nurses, caregivers or other skilled health positions have been trained in dealing with grief, so they’ll always be happy to listen and hand someone the tissues if needed. Many of their patients may be new to the grieving process so may need a little appropriate prompting and encouragement that it’s OK to let it out.
Home health care employees are also in a good position to monitor the path of a patient’s grief, especially if it becomes cathartic. Or if it moves into depression, they may need to talk with the patient’s primary provider or connect them with someone with mental health training.
The team at Accredited Home Care is always eager to talk to patients or family members about grief. Because they work with so many patients with different health conditions, they’re familiar with the process.