Life situations hit us all in distinct ways and grief is no different. Some will cry for days, some don’t cry at all, and many find themselves unsure of how to react. In our modern and fast-paced world, sometimes the slow process of grief seems unreasonable. Not that those who are in the midst of grief aren’t feeling its full effect but those around them who are not in that same grief, don’t value the process and time that it takes to fully heal. Therefore those who are easily swayed by the expectations of others don’t take the time they need to mourn. Many are finding though that taking the time to process grief is essential to being able to move forward.
The truth of the matter is that true mourning is not only necessary but beneficial according to new research. A study from University of California at San Francisco Medical School, recently compared the mental state of those who have lost a parent, one group sought counseling after 6 months and the other did not. Over the course of a year, the comparison showed that the mental state of those who sought help eventually decreased to match that of their counterpart mourners who did not seek help. The change that came about in their mental state was the fact that through therapy, they were able to confront their feelings about the loss of their parent. In essence, they were able to truly mourn.
Another way modern grievers have found solace during their grief is to revisit some ancient traditions. A recent study coming from the National Academy of Science states that “rituals such as the Roman Catholic wake and the Jewish custom of sitting shivah are increasingly important in modern society. The rootlessness of contemporary life leaves little time or place for the expression of the deep feelings that mourning brings. The old rituals, however, signal that the feelings of grief have their rightful place in life.” Sometimes to move forward, we must reach back into the past and bring back those mourning rituals. They give us the time and space to demonstrate our grieving in a meaningful and appropriate context.
Find a New Confidant
When someone has lost a close loved one, they will often continue an internal dialogue with their deceased loved one. Studies have shown that having a confidant to talk to during the grieving process can help. In addition, it can be useful to have a new confidant that does not have ties to their past. This new confidant can provide a clean slate for the griever to begin new memories or reflect on the past with an unbiased eye. If you or a loved one needs to find a new friend, know that it can aid in your path to healing.
The death of a loved one is never easy and the process of mourning can be arduous. Although it is hard, take the time you need now to confront your feelings. Don’t be afraid to meet with a counselor, find a new friend or explore some ancient grieving traditions. You will see the benefits of true mourning as you press on.
What has helped you when you’ve been grieving? Share your thoughts below so others can benefit from your wisdom!