Friday, February 9, 2007

Variables in Grief

My husband's grandfather passed away one week ago today.  He lived a beautiful, long life and died at the age of 97.  Some may say he lived a good long life, so his loss will not be felt as deeply.  Perhaps, but for me, his death represents one less truly good, loving and generous person walking on this earth. 

We talked earlier about the Variables in Grief and how these can determine how each person will grieve in their own unique way.  As I participated in the full day of activities,  I looked around and saw how the Variables were working.  As each event unfolded, emotional barriers were broken down and family members comforted one another.  At the viewing, it seemed the duties of paying respects, saying hellos and good-byes filled everyone with a sense of purpose and although some tears were shed, most held themselves in a composed manner.  During the church service, emotional barriers began to break down as we each heard the pastor's words, sang the hymns, and looked upon the casket.  At the veteran's cemetery, a special service was held and emotions were broken down even further by the touching ceremony given for our grandfather in honor of the service he gave to his country.  As we gathered at the church once again for a meal, the comfort we had given each other throughout the day had shored us up and gave a period of time to rest before we felt we had to grieve again. 

Everyone who had gathered that day, held special memories of Grandaddy, and grieved in their own unique way according to their relationship with him.  The fact that he died at 97 years of age was a variable for some family members' grief.  I heard one say that she felt it was a relief that he passed and was no longer suffering.  For many, this was their first significant loss.  Without having any life experiences regarding death before, they may be feeling the grief more acutely than some other family members.  These were just a few of the Variables that I observed that day. 

I often hear from people that their family members are not grieving the same way as they are.  Or they share that they feel the rest of the family does not understand them or what they are feeling.  Look to the Variables.  Everyone will grieve in their own unique way and the Variables may give you a clue as to why.

Until next week, please be gentle with yourself.




P.S.  If you have found this posting or previous postings helpful, please consider making a donation to The Bereavement Center.  We are a non-profit organization that serves the community, and we operate solely on donations from families, clients and the community.  As always, your donation will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged.


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