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Support Systems for Grief

Experiencing loss causes grief. It is so important to have a support system while you grieve. Without that all important support, processing and dealing with grief can feel so lonely. 

What is a support system?

 The definition of “support system” is: a network of people who provide an individual with practical or emotional support. Grieving creates needs that only connection with other humans can really fulfill. Everyone recharges differently. Extroverts tend to recharge by being in social situations and being around others often. Introverts tend to recharge more from having time set aside for themselves. These personality types will want to consider those needs as the support system is constructed. 

Why do you need a Support System while you Grieve?

 One of the most dangerous places to find yourself during times of grief is in isolation. Isolation breeds addiction and shame. Everyone grieves differently and has different needs as we learned earlier, but nobody should have to be alone in their grief. Loneliness or feeling as if nobody understands your pain can really put the brakes on any long term healing. Setting up a support system while you grieve is one of the most important things you can do to achieve healing. 


Who Should be Included?

For many people support systems are created as a natural function of being in relationship with others. Some of us have strong friendships and family relationships that we trust and can count on to be there during our grief. Even when we do have strong natural support systems we may need to add therapist, counselors and grief support groups in addition to our friends and family.  


Who is not a part of your support system?

As important as it is to know who is a part of your support system and who you want to add to it, knowing who should not be a part of it is important as well. Who should not be someone you rely on for support? It may sound obvious but it’s easier said than done. People that don’t acknowledge your feelings, people who dismiss your need for empathy, people are emotionally or physically abusive should not be allowed in your inner circle of trust. 


Go ahead and make a list of all those people you know you can count on to be there for you. Maybe they can bring you a meal or do some chores when you don’t have the energy to do it on your own. Having a trusting person who can listen to you with an empathetic ear is another must have. An accountability partner to keep you moving forward and practicing self care is so beneficial. 

Finding your “tribe” 

It’s great if you have all these people in place and can name them right away. If so fantastic you are ahead of the game and are well on your way to a future of growth and healing. The problem is that a lot of people find holes in their support system for grief. 


So the question becomes where do I fill those holes? Some of the best places to go are to find grief support groups where you can connect with others who are going through similar things as you. Not only will you be able to express yourself in a safe place, you may meet a friend to have lunches with. Another great person to add is a therapist or counselor who you connect with. There are so many ways to connect with people online these days and there are groups for everyone and everything. Social media even has grief support groups where you can find someone to connect with.  Make a point to reach out to people socially or professionally. The better your support system for grief the better chance of healthy healing. 


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