From Grief to Joy When Experiencing Loss

By: Linda Burhans

For some reason grief always sneaks up on us. But As a senior, you have more opportunities to deal with grief simply because the phenomenon of someone passing away is not that uncommon. Nonetheless, when the passing of a loved one strikes close to home, particularly if it is your spouse or someone you are with every day. It hits like a ton of bricks and we find ourselves at a loss for how to grieve.

When your first experience the loss, it hits hard! Many have an inability to feel or think straight for a while. We care and love for someone full-time and then suddenly we don’t have them at all. Even if your love was ill, the final passing makes it no less shocking.

Preparation for grief is a good way to give yourself a roadmap to recovery. If you are reading this article with the purpose of preparing yourself for the time when it will come, that’s a good step because you are arming yourself with information which can be a lifesaver when it feels grief is going to overwhelm you.

Pre-grieve. If you know you’re losing your love one soon you’re probably grieving already anyway. Talk to you love one about the time when one of you will pass away. If your love ones LOL face that moment passing soon, you get some of the emotional processing out-of-the-way early.

Give yourself permission to grieve. It’s not unmanly to cry or immature to feel sad or lonely when your loved one passes. There is no time limit on grief.

Support groups are an invaluable tool. They provide an opportunity to share advice, commiserate and learn from others who have the same feelings, stresses and challenges.

I have heard people say, “My dad has been gone for a year. When will my sister get over it?”

I don’t think you ever get over it. You just find a place in your heart where you can feel comfortable with the memories.

The stages of grief are said to be sadness, depression, anger, denial and acceptance. And acceptance does not mean that you do not continue to have feelings of sadness or loss. I think about my parents every single day. When I realized that I will always feel some sadness and miss them deeply no matter how long they are gone, I felt better.

If you feel comfortable with it, get into a grief support group. I attended one through hospice when my mom passed and it helped me immensely .

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