Family 411: Dealing with loss
Coping with the loss of a loved one is not the same for everyone. Eight million people will deal with the death of someone in their immediate family this year. There were 800-thousand new widows and widowers according to the National Mental Health Association.
Marie Trudeau’s partner died about a year ago from cancer. An insurance agent, Marie knows there are no guarantees about our health and how long we live. “I thought for awhile though that losing him was tearing my heart out. But watching him in pain was tearing my guts out.”
Trudeau said she has enrolled in classes and had counseling to deal with her grief. In art therapy, she constructed a coliseum after she had a dream about her partner, and she made him some armor.
For Trudeau, the inpatient 24-7 hospice center Kobacker House offers compassionate care and support. “Grief is a thief. It took my concentration. My memory. My energy,” said Trudeau.
“I have a great support network, family, and friends. Luckily I have grandchildren and I have them over as often as they will come.”
“Take stuff people say lightly, they mean well,” said Trudeau. She said
While you may have heard of the “stages of grief,” counselors said how we handle it is varied and personal. Brent Simonds, a grief counselor at Kobacker said “everyone is different. Everybody goes through different grieving symptoms.”
“There is a big stigma that is attached to seeking counseling of any kind. I think that is what makes bereavement different,” said Simonds.
“Unfortunately one of our parts of society is death, and it is an uncomfortable thing to talk about.”
Trudeau also created a memory book to cope with the grief.
“Telling your story is one of the most important things you can do,” said Simonds. Counselors said there is no time limit to get help because any time is a good time to do that. “It’s important to deal with grief. It comes out in some other way. It might be inability to function at work. Inability to function with others.”
Counselors said it is extra important for grieving people to eat healthy meals and get sleep, do one nice thing for yourself every day.
“Just reach out and ask for help and take care of yourself, be gentle with yourself,” said Trudeau. She advises people who encounter someone grieving not to feel compelled to tell your story of loss. “Don’t say he’s in a better place. He was in a good place with me.”
According to Kobacker counselors, people can feel grief upon losing a job, a pet, a friendship, a relationship or moving somewhere new as well as during the death of a loved one. Each grief is unique, just as each relationship is unique. There is no timetable on grief, because learning to live without the one you loved may be a lifelong process.