Someone significant to us dies and we are overcome with grief. It is one of the most profound personal experiences we share. Despite the significance of loss and the fact that grief is an essential part of our humanity, attempting to avoid grief is common. All too often, fear and lack of understanding hinders our healthy process of mourning and the easing of the pain. Grief is pain. Many would say excruciating pain. But, it is not meaningless pain, and it is much more than pain.
The purpose of this website is to provide helpful information about many aspects of loss and grief. The information will help you endure the painful, disruptive experience of grief while you accommodate to the reality of the death, adapt to the absence of the deceased, and come to a time when your life is not defined by the loss and grief. You can select from several topics for More Reading on the website, and you can purchase my booklet if you want a published paper copy of concise information. I suggest starting with Definitions, which distinguishes what you are experiencing (grief) from what this time in your life is about (bereavement), and time and activities intended to alleviate the pain (mourning).
I don’t promote “closure”, “moving on”, “getting over it”, and “getting on with your life”. These often communicate that you should act as if you are not affected by the loss. The unspoken message is that attending to this essential experience of grief has no value. I promote understanding of the complex experience of grief, and engaging in the process of healthy mourning. This results in acceptance of the reality of the death and loss, and diminished pain. We retain a lasting memory of the person who died and the meaningfulness of our life shared. I promote integration instead of closure. Integration of the experience increases understanding of our essential nature in the context of the world we live in. Our painful grief takes on cherished meaning when we have been able to honor the importance of life shared with the deceased, and expand our knowledge of self and the world in a way that enhances our experience of living.
Much of my professional life has been in service to people going through a difficult period of grieving. Contrary to being depressing or demoralizing, it has enriched my life and reinforced my faith in the human process of grieving. It is my sincere hope that you too will find that designating time and place for your grief will diminish your pain and help you accept and adjust to the death of your family member or friend.