How People Grieve – Part One – Intro

This document is not titled “How to Grieve” because it isn’t a ‘how to” manual. You will grieve your own way…not so much because your grief is that much different than anyone else’s, but because you, yourself are different than anyone else. Your own grief is unique and can’t be “pigeon-holed into fixed categories. However, by comparing your grief with that of others, you may find insight, courage and hope. You are the key to your grief. Hopefully, this document will help.

What do these people have in common?

KATE, a widow of less than a year, can’t concentrate or make decisions. She thinks about selling her house and moving into an apartment but can’t decide what not do. She’s afraid she’s losing her mind.

ALICE, considering a divorce, walked alone in the rain. She thought about killing herself but ended up in a local bar. She half-way wanted to get “picked-up.”

GRACE, recovering from a mastectomy, complains of severe headaches.

GEORGE’S stomach bothers him. He gets heartburn easily. He left a job he enjoyed for a better-paying one. He doesn’t like his new job. George eats a lot of antacids.

AL, recently retired, would trade his gold watch and pension for his old job and paycheck. His wife complains, “Al’s just stalking around the house or lying in front of the TV. He’s really changed since he had to leave work.”

KARYN, age four, cried last night. Her family just moved into a new neighborhood and Karyn misses her old playmates. She wants to “go back home.”

Each of these people shares a common problem. Stop reading until you’ve guessed what it is.

Did you guess depression? Fear? Shock? Suppressed anger? If you guessed any of these, you’re close to their common problem. Each of them is reacting to a loss…

Kate’s husband, Alice’s marriage, Grace’s breast, George’s job, Al’s job, and Karyn’s playmates and home. Grief is reaction to loss as profound as a death of a spouse or as disrupting as a fire destroying your home.

Grief happens often–not just when someone close dies. Even a comparatively minor loss can cause real grief. Because grief is usually thought of only in connection with death, many people grieve without really knowing that they’re grieving. Once a person knows he’s grieving he can cope with it better.

The purpose of this bulletin is to list the stages through which people pass in working through their grief –HOW PEOPLE GRIEVE. Grief is a healing process to embrace; not a disease to avoid.

Read the next Article in How People Grieve: Shock.