Most of us have heard of the five stages of grief developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book “On Death and Dying”. Kubler-Ross defines these stages as: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Often these stages are used as the measuring stick to evaluate where you are in your grief process, as a road map for family and friends to sort through the overwhelming nature of grief. Yet, grief doesn’t fit a mold, it takes on a life of it’s own after a loved one passes away. While, the stages of grief can be helpful, be careful not to use these stages as a linear process where ultimate healing means progressing through each stage completely.
For the family caregiver, grieving the loss of a loved one is a complicated and holy experience. Each person grieves uniquely. There are so many changes that take place for a family caregiver after the loss of a loved one–their schedule, finances, and responsibilities all may radically change. A routine they may have had for years is suddenly gone. For many family caregivers, they have been grieving the loss of their loved one for sometime, as they have watched a disease slowly steal the husband or wife, mother or father they have known and loved. They enter grief exhausted, worn out from the worthy burden of being a caregiver.
Every journey of grief is unique. The stages may be a helpful tool, but don’t let the tool define your grief. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you walk through your own unique journey of grief:
– There is no time limit. Your journey of grief will look different than other family members. Don’t pressure yourself with a time limit to complete the journey. The loss will never completely go away, but there will be a time when it won’t be so overwhelming.
-There is no emotion that is off limits. You may experience a variety of emotions from peace and joy to anger and sadness and everything in between. Allow yourself the freedom to express your emotions.
-Grief is not linear. One day you may feel like you are moving toward acceptance and the next you may be overwhelmed by anger and denial. You are not back-tracking, you are grieving.
-Ask for help. Talk to a friend or a professional counselor. Don’t walk the journey of grief by yourself.
© 2007-2020 Preferred Care at Home, a division of Help at Home Franchise Service, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Services may vary depending on the licensing of each Preferred Care at Home Franchise location. Each location is individually owned and responsible for controlling and managing day-to-day business operations.