Grief may be experienced in response to physical losses, such as death, or may be in response to symbolic or social losses such as divorce or loss of a job. The grief experience can be affected by one’s background and support system. Taking care of yourself and utilizing the support of friends and family can help you cope with your grief experience.
There is no right way to grieve. It is an individual process and a natural part of life. Life won’t be the same after a loss, but experiencing your grief will allow you to adjust to life after the loss. Grief lasts as long as it takes to adjust to the changes in your life. It can be for months, or even for years. Grief has no timetable; thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and other responses may come and go.
Grief in the Workplace
Grief affects all of us at different times and places in our lives. The workplace is not untouched by grief. Grief in the workplace occurs when you or a co-worker has experienced a personal loss or a workplace loss such as a death. It is important to remember that everyone grieves differently and everyone needs time to adjust to the loss.
When a person or family is expecting death, it is normal to begin to anticipate how one will react and cope when that person eventually dies. Many family members will try to envision their life without that person and mentally play out possibly scenarios, which may include grief reactions and ways they will mourn and adjust to life after the death. Anticipatory grieving includes feelings of loss, concern for the dying person, balancing conflicting demands and preparing for death. Anticipatory grief is a natural process that enables the family more time to slowly prepare for the reality of the loss. People are often able to complete unfinished conversations with the dying person (for example, saying “goodbye,” “I love you,” or “I forgive you”).
Grief experienced after a sudden, unexpected death is different from anticipatory grief. Sudden, unexpected loss may exceed the coping abilities of a person, which often results in feelings of being overwhelmed and/or unable to function. Even though one may be able to acknowledge that loss has occurred, the full impact of loss may take much longer to fully comprehend than in the case of an expected loss.
There are times when grief does not progress as expected; the intensity and duration of grief is prolonged and interferes with a person’s ability to function. Symptoms of depression and anxiety may be prevalent and prolonged. Thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and reactions may seem to persist over long periods of time with little improvement. In these situations, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional who can assess your individual situation and make recommendations that will help. Complicated grief typically does not subside on its own.
Red Cliff Counseling and Wellness provides grief, bereavement, and loss counseling for individuals, couples, and families. We also specializes in supporting employers/employees coping with loss. We provide memorial and bereavement services as well as consultations for creating healing trays or sanctuaries.
Contact us today for more information.