Despair or Hope: How Does Grief Define Us?

Marina Mails, NCC, LPC
Bereavement Counselor II

Grief, a simple, one-syllable word means so much more than its common definition.  As the word implies, it causes emotional pain and distress resulting from loss. However, it doesn’t touch on the upheaval, role changes, family conflict, financial stress, caregiving challenges, parenting issues, housing pressure and countless other complications that come when a loved one passes away.

Sometimes grief can feel like one of many concerns, perhaps low on the list of important stressors. Adjusting to all of the changes that grief brings, can feel overwhelming. We urge individuals, who have lost a loved one, to acknowledge the change they are facing and appreciate how stressful and tiring grief can be.

Know that if you feel frazzled, exhausted, irritable or forgetful, you have a good reason to feel this way! Grief is not a simple, short or easy time. Grieving people need rest, care and patience. If you need more information about counseling or want to request bereavement support, please call HPCG’s Counseling and Education Center at 336-621-5565.

In “Grieving Mindfully: a Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss” Sameet Kumar helps the reader understand the ways in which loss changes our relationships and our roles with friends and family. As our daily tasks change, our relationships shift and our roles change.

In Kumar’s book, he says “Lana’s husband has suffered a series of debilitating strokes. Over a period of nearly twenty years, he slowly began to lose his ability to walk, talk and take care of himself.”  As Lana begins to feel overwhelmed, she realizes that grief “is the process of determining who you are in a world that is barely recognizable … and you may not be able to answer the question ‘Who am I?’ for a long time after your loss.”