The Experience of Grief

Posted on

Nov 11, 2022

Book/Edition

Pennsylvania - Greater Pittsburgh Area

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Grief may not be a comfortable topic, yet it is something we all experience.

 

Below are two definitions for grief:  


GRIEF:

1. normal and natural reaction to loss or change of any kind;

2. the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.


Many believe that grief occurs only when a loved one dies, and don’t realize that there are over 40 life experiences that can result in a grief response.


Here are a few of those losses:  Death, Divorce, Empty Nesting, Job Change/Job Loss/Retirement, Financial Changes, Health, Aging, Moving.


Grief in aging is very normal as we may experience health concerns, change in living arrangements, dependency on others, memory loss, or the inability to perform tasks once completed with ease. Along with these changes, seniors may feel they are no longer valued for their accomplishments and therefore grieve the feelings of no longer being respected or recognized. The four-star general wants to continue to be honored for his/her service, the college professor’s impact on thousands of students is not to be forgotten no matter how many years he/she has been retired.


Adult children of aging parents may find themselves grieving, as well. What reason is there to grieve? It is after all the natural progression of life. Aging parents is a BIG change in the familiar. There comes a time when the roles shift and we become the caregivers, decision makers, money manager, etc. We grieve the parents who raised us, the parents who were once agile, and sharp.

Whether you are a senior or the adult child of an aging parent, be gentle with yourself as you navigate these significant changes.

Give yourself permission to feel those feelings of concern, sadness, fear, frustration, etc. Grief is the normal response to a change or end in a familiar pattern of behavior.

Let’s cease using the following platitudes: Don’t Feel Bad, Be Strong, Keep Busy, Time Heals, At Least (fill in the blank), I Know How You Feel, and just be present for ourselves and the grievers in our lives.

 

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Holly Gainsboro, Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist, with Golden Heart Grief Support & Education. Holly may be reached at goldenheartgrief@gmail.com

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