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Coping With Death

Healthy Ways to Cope

  1. Write in a journal. Writing down your feelings or emotions, gets them down on paper and is a way of being able to look at things more objectively.
  2. Pound a pillow, your mattress, with fists or a tennis racket.
  3. Scream in a pillow, in the shower, in your car, or in the woods.
  4. Have a temper tantrum on your bed, mattress or couch( carefully
  5. Go for a long walk  or run. Notice how your body is feeling, your breathing, how your legs are moving. Enjoy being out in nature.
  6. Twist a towel( or pull between a friend or large dog)
  7. Howl, wail, yell, scream. Laugh, cry, sing. Whatever noise or expression seems to express how you feel.
  8. Laugh uproariously, raucously, and with abandon, at least once a day. Laughter is good for the soul.
  9. Dance, skip, saunter, gallop, hop. Move in whatever way seems to work.
  10. Stop suffering .Suffering is an avoidance mechanism, a way of not dealing with the feelings and working through the emotions.
  11. Do the necessary grief work. In whatever form seems to work best for you.
  12. Join a support group, with meetings, or on line.
  13. Look for resources on grief, do not underestimate the helpfulness of books. Visit a local library or bookstore and see what books seem to help. There are grief books written on a variety of topics, from a variety of different perspectives depending on the type of loss.
  14. Talk to someone-a friend , family member,  councelor,  or clergy member, even a pet or stuffed animal.
Some of the above suggestions were taken in part from Good Grief Rituals by Elaine Childs-Gowell. All this material was taken from Journey of Hearts A Healing Place in Cyber Space.

There are many different ways of coping
Recognizing that there are many different ways of coping with grief, we have included a wide range of methods, in the hopes that even just one of two of the techniques would work for anyone reading this website.
The following are a list of suggestions for dealing with the acute loss or signifigant change. Some of these suggestions  come from "Finding Ways to Let Grief Out", Renewing Life, by Ingrid Dilley, and Carol Troestler, and Josiah Dilley, with some modifications.


Ways to Cope with Grief

  1. Write - whether poetry or songs, letters to friends(send or not), or a daily journal
  2. Draw, paint, sketch or doodle.
  3. Listen to music from meaningful artists.
  4. Play an instrument, or start playing one. Pull out the guitar, harmonica, clarinet, recorder and stat to make music. If not then sing. Music's good for the soul.
  5. Exercise-walking, running, tennis, hiking, water aerobics, swimming, horse back riding, bicycling
  6. Talk with others, share your feelings with friends.
  7. Do something kind to someone. You will realize that you can make a difference.
  8. Watch the stars, planets or moon at night. Take an astronomy course.
  9. Rent a favorite movie-sad so you can cry, happy so you can laugh.
  10. Pamper yourself-bubble baths, wrap in a favorite afghan or quilt, drink hot chocolate.
  11. Watch home movies or videos. Look at old photograghs
  12. Spend time reading-books articles, poems.
  13. Work in a garden, start a flower garden.
  14. Sew something, quilt something, create something.
  15. Work on pottery or other crafts.
  16. Hug something, a teddy bear, a pet, a friend
  17. Participate in a ceremony- religious, a sweat lodge, a candlelight dinner with family and friends. Create your own ritual.
  18. Watch the sunrise, the sun set.
  19. Get a massage
  20. Dance, dance, dance
  21. Scream in the car, in the shower, at home, at church, with friends. Join a community chorus
  22. Join a support group
  23. Take slow deep breaths, count to ten, concentrate on your breathing, the movement, the stress.
  24. Find a safe quiet place to think, remember, to process, to meditate to be alone with your thought s and allow the healing to take place in the silence.


Understandings of Grief

Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping grief inside increases your pain

Grief is a process, not a state.

Some phases of grief:

.Shock: Denial, disbelief, avoidance, numbness, a closing off period
          Just as the body goes into shock after a physical trauma, so does the

         human psyche go into shock after the impact of a major loss

Suffering: Confrontation, the "opening up" period
              The period of time when your grief is experienced most 
               intensely, when you really to learn that your loved person is
               gone, that your life is irrevocably changed
Renewal: New beginnings, re-establishment, catharsis and healing
            A gradual decline in your grief, a slow re-entry into the
             everyday world.
             You are changed by the loss, you will not forget it, but you are
             beginning to be able to accommodate it and to begin your life as
             it is, without the loved person.


Grief is perhaps an unknown territory for you. You might feel both helpless and hopeless without a sense of a map for the journey. Confusion is the hallmark of a transition. To rebuild both your inner and outer world is a major project. Get help if you need it. The process for each person is unique. Each person has an individual time line. Allow yourself your uniqueness.

Distinguish between depression and sadness or sorrow. It is natural to feel great sadness for your loss. It may come in waves or it might be pervasive over a period of time.

You will probably have a hard time to focus or concentrate on things that feel irrelevant or unimportant. You might feel lethargic, agitated, perhaps in turns. It takes energy and attention to move through mental/emotional process of grief and you will feel preoccupied with this psychological process.

Anger is a natural response when something you value is taken away from you .You may feel alone, isolated or not understood.


Resources For Your Body And Soul
Be aware of your body's needs for nutrition, exercise, and rest
Try to listen to your body's messages rather then imposing what you think it should want to do

Listening to your body is different from doing something for it

   Fear or anxiety might be expressed by shakiness, or queasy, upset
   Guilt/regrets can feel like physical burdens
   Anger or resentment, held inside, often manifests as headaches, tight neck and shoulders, and a knotted stomach

Distinquish between depression and sadness or sorrow. It is natural to feel great sadness for your loss. It may come in waves or it might be pervasive over a period of time
Notice the difference between feelings and mental thoughts or ideas. Both can betrue even though they may conflict ."I'kim glad he is no longer suffering" is true, but may conflict with the feeling of being abandoned and left to pick up the pieces of your shattered life.


The hurt never truly goes away, it just gets smaller and condensed, tucked away in a corner somewhere in the deep recess of your heart. There it remains at a constant low ache, which with time often can be over ridden. But the intensity of the grief and loss can surface again, just as painful, and often without warning, making you feel  that you were once experiencing the loss a new. With time, as you begin to heal from the loss, it seems to lessen to a level that you can function, and depending on the type of loss, reach a point of reconciliation, put the loss aside and begin anew.
(I will interject here with my own opinion and observing many other grieving parents.....that this last statement is NOT true....we just learn to adjust and live with the pain.)

   This was an article written by Dr. Anne Grant                   


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