HEALTH AND HAPPINESS by Sid Kettner, MD, Creston and Kootenay East Shore
Restoring the Joy
Last month we noted the devastating stress that grief may cause after a loss, especially through death, divorce or accident. The painful symptoms were listed. We learned that “Grief isn’t something you get over. It’s something you go through.” And it is likely to strike any one, any time, anywhere and by any means. But the good news is that healing will occur despite the long time it may take and the deep pain and the intense fears that may occur on that journey.
Traditionally we have known that there are five stages of grief—shock and denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. They may not always occur in this order and not everyone spends the same amount of time at each phase. Now we refer to the 6 R’s of Grief—Recognize that the loss has occurred, React to the loss (anger, depression), Recollect or re-experience the relationship with the person, Relinquish your attachments to what can no longer be, Readjust and move into the world in which the person no longer lives (but without forgetting the person) and finally, Reinvest and set new goals. But remember: This all involves pain, this all takes time, often a minimum of 18-24 months. For adequate healing, these steps should not be short-circuited. And remember: The loss will always be there, but the fear and the pain should continue to lesson. Hope will change everything. Hope will win out. Joy will return.
Cameron Johnson, noted stress management counselor, burnout coach, author and international speaker offers the Process to Reach the Destination of Grief Healing as one way to work through your grief. But these should be done deliberately andconsciously.
Choose a quiet place to spend alone daily for a few minutes
Take reminders of the lost to that place
Take a journal and pen to that place
Completely relive in mind just ONE aspect of the relationship (painful but necessary)
Completely review ONE hope for the relationship (also painful but necessary)
Record your true feeling in the journal
Write a brief farewell to what you can no longer do
Read and say the farewell aloud many times
Allow the emotions to flow until they diminish
The next day repeat that farewell note to that one item and then proceed with another expectation, another hope and another farewell
Repeat for as long as it takes to diminish the loss, sharing your farewells with friends if you wish