"Grief is a natural and normal experience."

The loss of a loved one is a tragic experience causing real emotional and physical pain. Grief is a natural and normal experience, and the grieving process is one with no schedule. The bereaved need to grieve in their own way and in their own time. Some people are able to complete the grieving process solely with support from friends and family. The use of support groups and grief counselors may be more healing for others.

“Time heals all wounds” is misleading. It is what you do with your time that counts. Normal grief reactions affect all areas of your life — the way you think, feel, act and get along with others.

"Working Through the Grieving Process"

During grief people may experience various emotions at different times. Tidewell’s professionals are able to recognize these emotions and help people come to terms with personal feelings, as well as those of other family members. Tidewell has developed a variety of support systems to help work through this grieving process, recognizing identifiable steps that can occur in any combination or sequence. Tidewell’s bereavement services are not mental health services; they focus on education, validation and support. Tidewell’s grief support staff can assist people experiencing further difficulty with a referral to the appropriate agency.

People’s reactions to death are often confusing and can temporarily split a family apart at a time when mutual support is needed. Tidewell grief specialists provide individual counseling support and work with families to allay emotional threats. Grief specialists are also available to assist businesses, organizations and schools when grief education and/or support is needed.

"Expressions of Grief:"

Emotional: Pain, anger, guilt, sadness, fear, anxiety, depression, feeling of going crazy, restlessness, irritability, sense of helplessness, feeling like you don’t belong

Cognitive: Disbelief, confusion, denial, memory problems, agitation, always thinking about your loved one, feeling you can’t do anything right and not caring

Behavioral: Sleep disturbances, insomnia or sudden awakening, absent-minded behavior, social withdrawal, dreams and nightmares, acting out, grief attacks, low social interest, lack of motivation, boredom, jealousy

Physical: Loss of pleasure, loss of appetite, nausea, apathy, decreased energy, decreased sexual desire or hypersexuality, lethargy, tearfulness, crying, weight loss or gain, tendency to sigh, feelings of emptiness or heaviness, feeling that something is stuck in your throat, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dry mouth, restlessness, rash, dizziness.

Society sees the grieving process as an event, not a process. In reality, grief is a comma, not a period. If grief is not dealt with it can increase and weaken the body, resulting in health problems. There are no hard and fast rules to handling grief. Often, it is most helpful to follow what feels healing to you and what connects you to the people and things you love.

"Some Useful Actions:"

  • A complete physical exam following the loss of a loved one is vital to ensure the best care of yourself.
  • Tell the story of the death, in detail, as many times as you need to. Find someone who will listen without comments.
  • Express your feelings: write, cry, say whatever you feel.
  • Care for yourself; a walk on the beach, a bike ride, a relaxing dinner with friends will help relieve physical and emotional stress.
  • Identify the gifts of the relationship with your loved one. Decide how to honor your loved one by taking these gifts forward.
  • Make new friends, try new activities, help others, and explore your spirituality to help to ease the pain of grief.