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Grief You Can Survive It-Here's How!

Grief You Can Survive It-Here's How!

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Grief You Can Survive It-Here's How!

Longitud:
195 página
3 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Nov 18, 2002
ISBN:
9781462097098
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Grief: You Can Survive It
Here's How



Do you wake up in the morning feeling that showering and dressing require more energy than you have? Are you wondering what happened to your old self and when, or if, it might be returning?



Does life feel overwhelming and, at times, convince you that you're going crazy? Is time passing and the horrible imprints that you've tried so hard not to recall, still linger, despite promises from others that time would heal your heart?



Are you keeping yourself busy, doing anything so that thoughts about it, won't fill you with anger or helplessness or, "Oh no, not guilt!?" Now, for probably the first time in your life, are efforts to find your way through this unfamiliar territory that is your grief, leaving you more confused and lost than when you initially embarked on this journey?



Then this book is the rudder, the guide that you have been searching for. You can survive the terrible event that has stolen your life. This book gives you the emotional map needed to steer you through and beyond the troubling, unchartered territory that is your loss and grief.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Nov 18, 2002
ISBN:
9781462097098
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Dr. Leslie, a grief counselor for over 20 years, assists with practical, social and emotional adjustments that the bereaved, divorced or persons dealing with life transitions face daily. She received her doctorate from UCLA in social psychology and family dynamics in 1981. Her philosophy is, "Grieving is not a mental health disorder."

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Grief You Can Survive It-Here's How! - Dr. Leslie Gorski

Grief

You Can Survive It—Here’s How!

Dr. Leslie Gorski

Writer’s Showcase

New York Lincoln Shanghai

Grief You Can Survive It—Here’s How!

All Rights Reserved © 2002 by Leslie Harper Gorski, Ph.D.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher.

Writer’s Showcase

an imprint of iUniverse, Inc.

For information address:

iUniverse 2021 Pine Lake Road, Suite 100

Lincoln, NE 68512

www.iuniverse.com

ISBN: 0-595-24897-7 (Pbk)

ISBN: 0-595-74271-8 (Cloth)

ISBN: 978-1-462-09709-8 (Ebook)

Printed in the United States of America

Contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Preface

PART I

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE:

My Perspective, That Is!

1

False Truths We’re Taught About Grief

2

More Untold Truths About Grief

3

A New Perspective On The Meaning of Loss

PART II

GRIEF WORK:

Its Ins & Outs

4

Grief Work: It’s Not What You Think, It’s What You Feel

5

I’m Going Crazy!

6

Who Is Humpty-Dumpty?

7

The Big Question:

8

Retelling Made More Difficult

9

Turn On The Damn Faucet, Please!

10

Healthy Healing: No More Smoke & Mirrors

PART III

GRIEF JOURNEY:

Responses & Reactions To Our Loss

11

What Grief Feels Like:

Too Many Firsts!

12

Anger: An Overlooked Grief Response

13

The Many Faces Of Guilt

14

Avoidance At Any Cost

15

Opposites Attract Different Grief Responses

PART IV

FAMILY DYNAMICS:

It’s Influence on Loss & Grief

16

The Interplay Between Family Life & Grief

17

The Games People Play

18

The Smoke & Mirrors of Family Life

19

Remarriage After Loss: Avoiding the Pits & Pitfalls

PART V

SPIRITUALITY & LOSS:

I Once Was Lost, But Now I’m Found, Was Blind But Now I See

20

Making Spiritual Sense of Loss & Grief

21

Spirituality to Resolve Guilt

22

And Faith Will See You Through

About the Author

References

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This written effort would never have been started, much less completed, without the continued support, both emotionally and practically, extended by my wonderful husband, Roy. "Write this book and together, we’ll overcome any obstacles!" It was his stayed faith in me that gave me the tenacity to undertake this endeavor. Roy was also the creative energy behind the cover’s design, for which I’m grateful! Additionally, I must acknowledge my mentor, Gary Groch, Ph.D., who was not only central to my own emotional healing but also taught me many of the clinical skills that I still use to this day. Thank you to Alvin Ross, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board of Directors at Ryokan College where I had the privilege of teaching my specialty, bereavement counseling, to graduates of psychology. Having lost his own son some years prior to our meeting, Dr. Ross was more than enthusiastic to have this important topic taught to future psychotherapists. It was during my tenure there, that the original seed to write this book was planted and fueled by the students.

This book was decidedly made possible because of the many clients whose lives enriched my professional expertise, teaching me over a course of twenty-plus years, much of what is contained in this book. I have protected their identity in these written words but share their lessons with the readers. But most important of all, I need to acknowledge the spiritual inspiration and guidance from God that ultimately created this final product. May this book lead readers through their own grief work to its ultimate goal of moving beyond one’s loss to healing, happiness and reinvesting in life and living once again!

Preface

"I once was lost, But now I’m found, Was blind but now

I see."

—[Hymnal, Amazing Grace]

Just hearing the first few refrains of this well known gospel song brings unchecked tears to my eyes. Nearly every single time. Even when I am not sad or hurting, the tears come unbidden.

Like many, I originally associated the playing of this song with the sad memory of my dad’s funeral. It was, of course, logical that I would cry when later hearing it played. But since that memory is now over a decade old and subsequent sad or painful events are nestled beside its fading memory, my current reaction to this refrain is no longer the knee-jerk response that it once was.

Rather, it is a deeply abiding understanding of just how lost, afraid and blinded we all are when loss and grief enter our seemingly predictable, stable lives, turning everything topsy-turvy. The surviving family members and friends of 9-11-01 know with certainty that when loss enters our lives, it dismantles all of the props that held us together. Props that we mistakenly called ‘our strengths.’ In the face of such traumatic events, we now see how frail and vulnerable we truly are.

When loss and grief interrupted my life, when that phone call came at 6:00 p.m. announcing the sudden death of my dad and I drove that hour’s drive to my parents’ home in shock and numbness, I wished for my life as it had been only yesterday. Surviving the impact of traumatic events is no small feat, as most of my readers grieving a loss similarly realize. I know this as a professional—learned from over twenty years of experience as a Grief & Loss Specialist. But I also know this on a very real and personal basis, as the daughter to a dad with whom I had a very special relationship.

When we survive our journey through the unchartered, unmapped territory called personal grief, we then can see life and loss in an all new perspective. While I did eventually find myself once again, I discovered that I was not the same person. I was forever transformed by this experience. I did not welcome this experience, nor did I want the transformation it heralded. It is merely a factual outcome of surviving this loss. I once was lost, but now I’m found. I am a survivor of loss, not its victim!

Therefore, when the melody of Amazing Grace fills my ears, this understanding never fails to bring tears. The human spirit’s will to survive, even the awesome devastation created by personal loss and grief, triumphs, yet again!

… Was blind but now I see.

PART I

PUTTING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE:

My Perspective, That Is!

1

False Truths We’re Taught About Grief

We’ve been lied to most of our lives about what loss really feels like. But we only learn of this when it is our loss, ‘my turn’ to face it up-close-and-personal. Until then, we may have unwittingly been the bearer of one or more false truths about how loss and grief are suppose to feel. But we spoke them, and now they are said in turn to us, because our friends and acquaintances need to fill that awkward silence that so often follows any conversation about our loss. Our friends, unable to really do anything for us, offer up token, what I call ‘feel-goods,’ in an attempt to assuage our pain and their sense of relief that personal loss hasn’t visited their door…yet.

A common false truth we all believe is that so many tears were cried before and during the funeral service that we’re all cried-out. We did our grieving before and at the service and now it’s time to look ahead and get on with living again. Because extensive media coverage is now available to us, we can see and view the tragedy and suffering of people all over the globe. Its impact can be staggering to viewers. But oftentimes the lessons taught us as to how people are suppose to recover from their grief are ill taught lessons. Take as an example the events in the state of Georgia, where I reside. The first of twelve funerals recently took place, all twelve were victims in the largest mass murder in the history of Georgia. The local media covering the initial funeral were saying how the members of this family could now finally get on with their healing. But what the media should have said was that this family can now get on with its grieving, because healing is a long way removed from the months of grieving that follow a funeral.

All of the individuals that influence us on a daily basis, perpetuate this myth of ‘getting on with living’ instead of grieving. When employers give employees three days of ‘official bereavement time,’ the expectation is that grievers are to get personal business in order, attend the funeral, cry it all out and return to work three days later ready to pick-up their professional lives where it was left off. Well maybe the boss will cut some slack for the next month but then.! Yea, right. We now know how false that belief and expectation is since our own close and personal encounter with death.

Another false truth sometimes overlooked is that grieving is predictable. We always assumed it was like healing from a surgery. Everyday that passed, our wounds healed and we got stronger. Within a given time we were good as new. Period. But that’s not true for healing grief. Just as we’ve taken three steps up the ladder of healing, we are unexpectedly blind-sighted out of the blue by an unbidden vivid memory that instantly brings tears welling to our eyes. Where in the world did this come from?, we ask ourselves in disbelief. And sometimes it’s not a memory that triggers this sudden emotion, it comes all by itself, for no identifiable reason. We’ve now stepped down two of those three rungs on our way to healing, wondering if we’ll ever get to its top. Why did I ever think that surviving this loss was gonna be a no-brainer?! Another false truth is revealed.

In conjunction with this notation on grief as unpredictable, is the pitfall of writing or reading a book on grief in which the journey through our grief is portrayed as an orderly, nice step-by-step process. Real grief is not that organized and tidy. Grievers don’t move from one ‘grief stage’ to the next, rather they jump all over the map, if you will. And while this book similarly portrays grief and loss in a more organized manner—because I’m trying to write about it instead of doing grief counseling, as I do with clients—I’m putting my readers on notice that grieving does not follow the orderliness laid out in this book! Indeed it is illogical, spontaneous and disorderly. So beware.

Consider this truth. We are a society that likes to fix everything quickly. Rather than reduce the stress that dominates and disrupts lives, we instead take aspirin to fix the headaches it causes, anti-acid to stop the stomach aches, anti-depressants to fix our low moods, pills to seduce sleep and caffeine to later wake us up. "Just fix it now!" is our modern day mantra.

Two examples of this ‘quick-fix’ mentality are my personally most favorite ‘feel-goods.’ Namely, "God doesn’t give us more than we can bear’ and "Time heals all things." Wrong on both counts. For when it’s my loss and my emotional guts spilling out everywhere, it feels like God doesn’t have a clue as to how much I can bear if He believes I can handle this. We believe this with a conviction that is pulled from the depths of our despair. In the latter chapters of the book, we will return to this issue again. Similarly, when it comes to ‘time healing,’ let me tell you, my readers, it doesn’t do that either. Time just passes. There is nothing inherent in time that causes it to heal us. We are responsible for our own healing, not some magical three days, three months or twelve months for that matter.

Another approach to this myth about ‘time healing’ is to think, If time heals our grief, then it is as imperfectly as the healing of a broken bone not properly set by a physician. True, the arm will heal despite being neglected, but the full range of motion or other deformities are likely results of such a decision. Rather, we must be the physicians healing our own broken hearts, or time, left to its own passing, will undoubtedly leave our hearts filled with fears of future losses, bitterness or even lingering cynicism.

Such cliches as Don’t think about the past, look ahead to the future, or You must be strong for your children, or Crying won’t bring him/her back or change anything, and Your dad lived a long, productive life, everyone has to die, at least it was quickly, go on endlessly as others attempt to help us feel better—give us a quick-fix—in order to lessen their own sense of helplessness and uselessness. As much as we want to believe in these feel-good statements, they are simply myths, generally told to us by people who have not experienced a loss similar, or more often, have not experienced any loss.

And many bereaved approach grieving with that same mental framework. I’ve had clients come to me with the attitude like, You’re the therapist so fix my pain and make if go away now! How disheartened they are to learn that there are no quick fixes, no condensed grief work that can be done in just three short sessions.

So one more false truth bites the proverbial dust. Healing is a process, not a pill. It is a journey through lots of unknowns. It is my hope that this book can be a guide, a map if you will, for my readers as they embark on their own grief journey.

2

More Untold Truths About Grief

First off, losses can’t be quantified. That is to say, we can’t measure how much someone is hurting. We can’t compare one type of loss against another, decide which kind of loss is worse and then determine who is rightfully hurting the most and the least. When the hole is in your chest—as it was once in my chest—when your world has been shattered by your loss and you’ve never been so lost in your life, you are grieving. Nor more or less, but totally. You are 100% feeling pain and that pain can’t be measured.

I’ve seen this quantifying of pain occur in bereavement support groups that I’ve facilitated over the years where grieving spouses dominated the group. Should a new attendee, bearing the pain of the loss of a fiance or a grandparent, join the group, the other bereaved spouses, by a slight of hand or even a mere tone in their voice, dismiss the impact of this ‘lesser loss’ relative to their own. A simple comment like, "Well, you only spent a few months [or years] with your fiance instead of an entire lifetime, like I did with my spouse. You’re young, you still have time to marry. It’s not like my situation. " And the loss of a grandparent will be virtually unacknowledged by bereaved spouses if the facilitator does not step in.

But should a new attendee report they’re here because of the death of their child, these same grieving spouses would then take a back seat to that parent, diminishing their own loss in the face of this ‘harsher loss.’ They were now discounting their own pain as readily as they discounted the pain of other attendees whose

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