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End of Life Issues Grieving Timing Each person recovers from grief at his or her own pace. Some can recover quickly, while others can take a full year or more (this will also depend on the severity of the loss). Be careful not to impose a time limit or tell people to get over it and move on - feeling that they’ve grieved too long can cause people to suppress their feelings, and slow or stop the healing process. Be Tolerant Remember that there’s no definitive way to experience grief. Understand that the grieving person will always feel the loss, but that he or she will learn to live with it over time. Celebrate It may sound strange to talk about celebrating, but it can help grieving people heal. Help them celebrate the life of the loved one they’ve lost. Help them develop rituals they need to get through the difficult early stages of the grieving process. Be Watchful Sometimes grieving people can go to extremes, if you notice signs of suicidal behavior or fear they may harm themselves or others, refer them to a mental health professional. What Helps Grieving? (continued) �� Take care of your health. Eat balanced, nutritious meals. Rest properly. Find an exercise you enjoy and do it regularly. If you have physical problems, consult with your physician promptly. • Find outside help when necessary. If your bereavement feels too heavy for you to bear, find a counselor or therapist trained in grief issues to offer you some guidance. When Is Mourning Finished? When these “4 Tasks” of grieving are completed. • To accept the reality of the loss • To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing • To experience the pain of the grief • To withdraw emotional energy and reinvest it in a new relationship HOW TO HELP A GRIEVING PERSON Listening Listening to grieving people is the most important thing you can do. Listen in a nonjudging way, and allow them to tell their stories over and over if they need to. Sharing Share your memories of the loved one, too. Reflect on the feelings they are experiencing - but as you share, be careful not to start oneupping their feelings, or comparing your loss to theirs. And don’t say “I know exactly how you feel.” It’s usually much more helpful to say something along the lines of “I can’t imagine what you must be feeling right now,” because most grieving people feel like no one else could know what they are experiencing. More Info Online PolkElderCare.com More on Grieving: • Mourning the Death of a Spouse • Coping with Grief • Is Crying Required for Me to Really Grieve? • Prolonged Grief • Is Grieve After a Suicide a Different Grief? • Caregivers Grief • How to Get Back to “Normal” • How Do I Know if I Have Really Grieved? 72 www.PolkElderCare.com


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