Grieving when your heart feels broken
People often say they feel lost after the death of a loved one. Even though this can feel strange and confusing, this is a normal and natural response to loss because people we love are literally a part of us. Many systems in our body and mind are affected by those we love including our heart rate, blood pressure, immune system, pain response, gene function, and even our confidence and ability to explore the world. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the death of people close to us can shake our foundation and affect our quality of life.
In time, we learn to adapt to the loss, but we are forever changed, especially our perspectives of grieving and mortality. Unfortunately, this adaptation journey, can feel lonely. Our friends and family, because they love us, often find it difficult to see us suffering in grief. Most importantly, we don’t talk enough about death, grieving, and loss in our communities.
Stephan Moeller of the Grief Recovery Institute says, “Perhaps my greatest wish is that people might be given better tools when they are growing up in how to deal with the emotional pain of any kind of loss. Most children are told to not feel bad, be strong, keep busy and that grief just takes time. None of these things are really effective in dealing with emotional pain.” Avoiding the pain of grief and sadness only makes the loss harder.
Community grief support can help people adapt and make peace with the pain. “We grieve because we love, and we can’t have one without the other,” says Sarah Cheney, who offers grief counseling at Omega House hospice in Houghton. “We’ve learned that people in our community want to learn how to better help friends and family who are grieving and at the same time they want better support when they are grieving because they feel alone and often very uncertain about their emotions during bereavement.”