Saturday, May 14, 2011

Helping Yourself Heal When Your Child Dies Part 3 of 4

~ Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt

TALK ABOUT YOUR GRIEF - Express your grief openly. When you share your grief outside yourself, healing occurs. Ignoring your grief won't make it go away; talking about it often makes you feel better. Allow yourself to speak from your heart, not just your head. Doing so doesn't mean you are losing control or going "crazy". It is a normal part of your grief journey.

WATCH OUT FOR CLICHES - You know those clichés.. - trite comments some people make in attempts to diminish your loss - can be extremely painful for you to hear. Comments like, "You are holding up so well", "Time heals all wounds", "Think of what you have to be thankful for" or "You have to be strong for others" are not constructive. While these comments may be well-intended, you do not have to accept them. You have every right to express your grief. No one has the right to take it away.

DEVELOP A SUPPORT SYSTEM - Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult, particularly when you hurt so much. But the most compassionate self-action you can do at this difficult time is to find a support system of caring friends and relatives who will provide the understanding you need. Seek out those people who encourage you to be yourself and acknowledge your feelings – both happy and sad. A support group may be one of the best ways to help yourself. In a group, you can connect with other parents who have experienced the death of a child. You will be allowed and gently encouraged to talk about your child as much, and as often, as you like. Sharing the pain won't make it disappear, but it can ease any thoughts that what you are experiencing is crazy, or somehow bad. Support comes in different forms for different people – find out what combinations work best for you and try to make use of them.

Part 4 of 4 will be posted on May 16th

About the Author - Dr. Alan D. Wolfelt is a noted author, educator and practicing clinical thanatologist. He serves as a Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Fort Collins, Colorado and is on the faculty at the University of Colorado Medical School in the Department of Family Medicine.

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