Grief / Bereavement Counseling
Life is a series of beginnings and endings. The world is filled with change, both positive and negative. Changes are often accompanied by loss and may involve grief. But no loss hits as hard as the death of a loved one or friend. People cope with the loss of a loved one in many ways. There is no right way of coping with death. The way a person grieves depends on the personality of that person and the relationship with the person who has died. How a person copes with grief is affected by their experience and relationship with the person they lost, the way the disease progressed, the person’s cultural and spiritual background, their emotional coping skills, their mental history, their support system, and their history with previous loss.
The terms “grief,” “bereavement,” and “mourning” are often used in place of each other, but they have different meanings. Grief is a natural response to a loss. It is the emotional suffering we feel when we lose someone, as in the case of a loss of a relationship or losing someone to a death. Bereavement is when we suffer a loss or grieve for someone. To mourn is more of the showing of the grief for someone you have lost, such as attending the memorial service and performing certain rituals.
How long you have known the person, how meaningfully and closely your lives have been intertwined, how unexpectedly he or she has died will all affect the depth of your grief and your feelings of loss. Also the age of the person who passed away and the length of the time he or she suffered with a disease may effect your grief. Most of the support that people receive after a loss comes from friends and family. For those who experience difficulty in coping with their loss, grief counseling or grief therapy may be necessary. Grief counseling helps mourners work through the tasks of grieving. Grief counseling can be provided by professionally trained people, or you can receive support in self-help groups where others who are also experiencing grief help one another. This is done with the help of a “Grief Facilitator” who is experienced in this type of counseling.
Vaishnavas CARE Volunteers with professional training and experience in the field of Grief counseling have come forward to assist those in need. Please take the opportunity to write us and we will do our best to connect you to one of our volunteers who can assist you in your time of grief. We can assist in one of the following ways:
*Arrange for you to have email correspondence to answer your concerns and questions.
*Arrange for you to have phone call conversations and/or Skype meetings to discuss your concerns and needs
*If there is a Vaishnavas CARE Team in your area we will be happy to connect you to one of our volunteers to meet with you if you wish.
There is no need for you to feel alone during your time of loss and grief.
Please go to: “Contact Us” and let us know how we can assist you.
We are here to help!
Counseling Concerning Your Loss and Grief
“Whenever a devotee passes away, this world becomes a little more unfortunate.”
— Indradyumna Swami
WE ARE HERE TO ASSIST YOU IN WHATEVER WAY WE CAN
WITH YOUR EMOTIONAL AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS CONCERNING YOUR LOSS AND GRIEF.
There is no right way to grieve and mourn. Be very careful not to impose your ideas, beliefs and expectations on someone else, no matter how much you think it might help. The following are some suggestions of ways you can support a grieving friend or family member.
Acknowledge all feelings. Their grief reactions are natural and necessary. Do not pass judgment on how well they are or are not coping.
Understand and accept cultural and religious perspectives about illness and death that may be different from your own. For example, if a family has decided to not allow their children to attend the funeral because of their beliefs that children should not be exposed to death, support their decision even if this may not be what you would do.
Acknowledge that life won’t “feel the same” and the person may not be able to “get back to normal.” Help the person to renew interest in past activities and hobbies, when they are ready, or to discover new areas of interest. Offer suggestions such as, “Let’s go to the museum on Saturday to see the new exhibit,” but be accepting if your offer is declined.
Be willing to stay engaged for a long time. Your friend or family member will need your support and presence in the weeks and months to come after most others will have withdrawn.
Be specific in your willingness to help. Offer assistance with chores such as childcare or meals. For example, suggest, “I’ll bring dinner on Thursday; how many people will be there?”
Check on your friend or relative as time passes and months go by. Periodic check-ins can be helpful throughout the first two years after the death. Stay in touch by writing a note, calling, stopping by to visit, or perhaps bringing flowers.
Be sensitive to holidays and special days. For someone grieving a death, certain days may be more difficult and can magnify the sense of loss. Anniversaries and birthdays can be especially hard. Some people find it helpful to be with family and friends, others may wish to avoid traditions and try something different. Extend an invitation to someone who might otherwise spend time alone during a holiday or special day and recognize that they may or may not accept your offer.
Identify friends who might be willing to help with specific tasks on a regular basis. Performing tasks such as picking up the kids from school or refilling prescriptions can be a big help.
Death and grief spare no one and are normal life events.
All cultures have developed expectations and norms about coping with death. It is important to understand someone else’s loss from the perspective of the cultural and family traditions unique to that individual.
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