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Factors And Resolving Of Grief

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Grief is a combination of what one feels and what one thinks when a loss or separation has occurred. These feelings often arise after the loss of a person, event, status, relationship, pet, etc. Grief can occur after a divorce, loss of a job, loss of a pet, or any multitude of events. It even occurs when a 12-year-old has his bicycle stolen. Frequently one thinks of the death of a loved one as a grief event, but grief occurs on other life-changing events also. A stolen bicycle could be a life-changing event for a young boy or girl.

Consider a coin as an example of the relationship between love and grief. A coin always has more than one side. The images may be missing, but both sides still exist. Love would represent one side of the coin, and grief would represent the other side. In other words, love and grief are two sides to the same coin. The decision to grieve is not made at the time of loss, but rather, the decision whether to grieve or not grieve is made at the time the relationship is born.

One cannot decide not to grieve at the time of the loss of someone or something but can only decide how to express the feelings and thoughts that are occurring. Grief is the opposite side of the same coin that contains love. One cannot have one of these two without the other.

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There is an old truism in funeral service that relates to the value of a funeral. It is “a joy shared is joy increased while grief shared is grief diminished.” This truism is true. When one has a personal record (low round in golf, largest fish caught in one’s life, receiving an engagement ring, graduating from college, etc.) and a personal milestone in one’s life occurs, one’s joy increases by sharing the event with family and friends. A similar effect is when one shares a loss or painful event. Often one hears that “you will feel better to get it off your chest.” Sharing a sad or bad event will help diminish that event and seems to make one feel better. So it is with funerals: Friends and family come to share what may be the worst day of our life, and by sharing, by simply being with us, the sadness and grief one feels is diminished. Therein lies one of the intrinsic values of a funeral, and that is the reason that different cultures around the world gravitate towards having similar customs when dealing with the loss of family and friends. Funerals are said to be too personal to be private. Even friends need an outlet to share their grief at the loss of someone special. A funeral should not be reserved only for the family but should allow the community to come together to share in the loss.

Most of us do not relish the thought of visiting a friend or family member who has experienced the loss of a loved one. One does not know what to say to make them feel better or what to do. I remember watching my Dad meeting with a family who had experienced a loss of someone. “Mr. Sam” was the consummate funeral director. He was genuinely kind and caring and strived to help the family cope with the many details in an unassuming manner. I have seen him sitting at a kitchen table pre-dawn, waiting to help the family move through the different steps required to begin the funeral process. Sometimes he would sit there in their home for 30 or 45 minutes without saying anything. Eventually, someone would say, “Mr. Sam is here.” At that point, my father would begin to speak with the family. His manner and his voice were soft and caring. Questions that had to be asked, information that had to be obtained were always gathered in an unassuming manner and always respectful. Never would “Mr. Sam” be assertive or in any way aggressive. He would never say, “I know how you feel” or other clichés that developed to help the speaker say something “helpful” to the family. Those clichés seldom, if ever, make anyone feel better. This may be the reason that in many cultures, food is delivered to the home of the family. Of course, the food is needed for the family and friends gathered, but more importantly, it allows one to non-verbally express their care and concern. Flowers serve the same purpose. One can express their feeling without having to find the words to do so. So these traditions are really for the benefit of the visitor as well as the family.

Resolving grief is a process and not an endpoint. The time required varies from individual to individual. Many feel that one never resolves grief, but rather one comes to the realization that these feelings are normal and will become an acceptable part of our future life. Memories of the deceased move from being very painful to becoming comforting and joyful. This is a process that occurs over time and indicates that one is moving through the grief process towards the acceptance of the loss. This is a healthy transaction. Hope and a renewed self-worth continue to grow during this process. The painful memories are slowly replaced by memories that result in joy when being recalled. Around this time, one begins to want to talk to others about the deceased and the good times that they shared.

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Factors And Resolving Of Grief. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 29, 2023, from
“Factors And Resolving Of Grief.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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Factors And Resolving Of Grief [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2023 Jan 29]. Available from:
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