Human beings are most comfortable when they are in control of their lives and circumstances. Death, even when it’s expected, represents the ultimate “change in plans.”
COUNT ON GRIEF TO INCREASE VULNERABILITY The bereaved may experience feelings of helplessness that are frightening, as well as disarming. The positive aspect is that vulnerability breaks down walls of resistance to new thought processes and opens the way to new perspectives.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO CREATE CHANGE The bereaved meets the world at a disadvantage, continually surprising themselves and others with unpredictable responses to familiar situations.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO CHANGE SOCIAL STRUCTURE Not everyone who cares about the bereaved will be able to fully share their plan. The very ones who were expected to be there for them were not able to meet their needs, and friends the bereaved didn’t know they had appeared “out of nowhere” to fill the void.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO STRESS MARITAL BONDS Grief, like any other stress, complicates relationships. Because grieving is an unpredictable, moment to moment process, couples must be prepared to build flexibility into their union. Marriages are strengthened when each partner feels supported and is allowed individuality and freedom from expectations.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO DEFINE PRIORITIES Bereaved often find themselves realigning their goals and objectives. Because the cares and concerns built into their busy lives pale in comparison to their loss, the emphasis on people versus things takes on far greater meaning.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO INCREASE SPIRITUAL AWARENESS The pain of grief prompts spiritual investigation into both eh known and unknown. The struggle for inner peace and unity seizes many priorities.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO STRENGTHEN COMPASSION Grief tears down boundaries between self and others. Bereavement enhances one’s humaneness and strengthens their ties to the world around them. Pain somehow opens them to greater levels of awareness and a greater capacity for compassion and understanding.
COUNT ON GRIEF TO DEFINE THE PAST AND OPEN DOORS TO THE FUTURE For the bereaved, the world is completely new. The death of a loved one becomes a reference point around which they define where they have been and how they will structure a path for tomorrow. They find themselves with fewer answers, but far more insights. As death closes behind them, new doors open for them.
Adapted from Count on Grief, Bereavement Magazine, January 1990