Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rules For Grieving: Thank you Ya-Ya sisters.

My heart has been particularly heavy the last few days. I've been thinking and praying for the parents of the two Menchville High School Students who lost their lives in a tragic car accident last weekend...and the parents of the two who are continuing to fight for their lives. As a parent myself, I'm crushed when my children are sick or have injured themselves. I could not help but feel a deep pain in my heart upon hearing of this story.

As one who has not lost children, but has lost SEVERAL family members in 2005, I am not a stranger to the grieving process. Even three years later, I still grieve. And through my own pain, I have also witnessed the pain that my former mother-in-law
(and best friend in the whole world) and my grandmother endure with the loss of their children. My grandmother has lost THREE of her four children (including my mother) and even though all three of my grandmother's children have died 28 years or more ago, it doesn't mean she should be through talking it out or having "moments." It's her right. I enjoy offering my ear to both of these precious women because through their memories, I am able to find peace myself.

I have found with some people in my life, it is hard for them to believe that we are not "over it" yet. I have learned quite a few valuable lessons during my own grieving process and from others who are learning to live again as well. The biggest lesson I learned is that we will NEVER get "over it." We will get through the best we can, but inevidably, our lives are changed forever.

There was a quote from the piece "The Mourner's Bill of Rights" posted on Gumbo Ya-Ya just a few days ago on a thread called "Rules of Grieving." Gumbo Girls Discuss Grieving. Those of us who posted on that thread agreed wholeheartedly that there are NO rules.

I managed to find the whole piece by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. and have posted it below. I'm surprised that I never knew anything about this piece until an excerpt was posted by my friends. Anyway, I hope it will help others find even a morsel of hope as it is helping me.

The Mourner's Bill of Rights

As a bereaved person, you have certain rights that others must not take away from you. In fact, it is the very upholding of these rights that makes healing possible.

1. You have the right to experience your own unique grief. No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. Don't allow others to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.

2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief.

3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Know that there is no such thing as a "wrong" emotion. Accept all your feelings and find listeners who will do the same.

4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into things you don't feel ready to do.

5. You have the right to experience grief "attacks." Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.

6. You have the right to make use of ritual. The funeral ritual provides you with the support of caring people. More important, it supportively sees you off on your painful but necessary grief journey. Later rituals such as lighting a candle for the person who died, can also be healing touchstones. If others tell you that rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don't listen.

7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. If faith is a part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.

8. You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking "Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the cliched responses some people may give you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think what you have to be thankful for" are not helpful, and you do not have to accept them.

9. You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find creative ways to embrace them. Write them down.

10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember grief is a process not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.


Twango said...

I love you.
That is all