- It can last a long time, 2 years or more
- It involves emotions, actions, mood and health
- It is painful
Grieving is a Process
Heart-Broken & Brain-Broken
Grieving literally causes changes in your brain that result in changes in behavior, such as
- Short temper
- Stress and despair
- Too much or too little sleep
NBC created this explanatory video, which also offers ideas to help. View the video
“My kids and grandkids say I’m not the same person after the weekend.
They want me to go again.”
Healing after a loved one dies
Helping widowed people move through bereavement toward spiritual and emotional wholeness
Everyone in the family grieves to some extent when a loved one dies, even the smallest children. You may be asked, “When is grandpa coming back” or hear, “I want my mommy.” As a family member, you want to be emotionally supportive while also dealing with your own sense of loss.
HEALING & SUPPORT
Permission to talk about loss
Talking with others about those who have died can be a great comfort, and remind us that their memories live on. Encourage the surviving spouse to reminisce. Answer questions your children may have as honestly and compassionately as you can - keeping your answers age-appropriate.
You may worry about what you should say, worried that you may create more sadness. You can’t fix grief, but you can be supportive and encourage the grieving person to share their feelings. Admit to yourself and them that you can’t make it better, but you do recognize the loss and are there for them, no matter how long it takes.
How to help
Often, family member rush in, trying to manage a widow or widower’s life, which may appear to be falling apart. And while in the short-term, the surviving spouse may need help with daily tasks, they are already dealing with an incredible number of changes in the life they knew. Having someone swoop in and take charge may only add to their sense of loss and depression.
Don’t expect a quick “recovery”
Try to be understanding and avoid badgering. It is normal for the first 18 months after the loss to be traumatic. The confusion and fog created by changes in brain chemistry as it sorts through all the changes can sometimes be worse the second year than the first. A sense of “I made it” may set expectations too high for the second year as the widow or widower lives through their spouse’s birthday and holidays or encounters special memories. It is normal for it to take 2-1/2 years to disengage from the close connection they had as spouse, and another 2-1/2 before they are psychologically open to new relationships, if desired.
Encourage and support
If you feel your parent or widowed friend could use more support they may benefit from a Joyful Again! weekend. We recommend they wait until they have been widowed at least 4-6 months.
You might let them know you’ve come across the program, and:
- Suggest they “just think about it”
- Show them the comments from prior participants
- Hand them notices from their church bulletins about Joyful Again!
- Give them the Joyful Again! brochure (download or call (708) 354-7211)
- Offer to pay for the weekend as a gift.
- Offer to house sit or drive them if needed
- Facilitate getting registered
- Know we’ll be here later, if they aren’t ready yet