Dealing Effectively With Grief And Loss


By Jay Michaels

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) "Get over it as soon as you can." That's how most Americans are taught to deal with loss, grief, and mourning. But as usual, that's not the way to deal with those things effectively.

Dr. Alan Wolfelt of the Center for Loss and Life Transition says, "It's critically important to allow themselves to mourn in a culture that now has the shortest social norms for mourning. Where we get people three days off work or school, it better be a biological nuclear family relative."

While we usually think about mourning the death of a family member, that can also extend to losing a pet, your health, your job – and for those of us who aren't as young as we used to be – even your youth.

Fred Elwood, Chaplain of St. Luke's Magic Valley, says, "I was speaking recently with a gentleman who had lost the eyesight in one of his eyes. He's a long distance truck driver. He won't be able to drive a truck with the eyesight gone in one eye. I bet you he'll be grieving the loss of that eyesight."

Dr. Wolfelt says the things that shape our grief are the nature of the relationship we're grieving, the circumstances of that death, your personality, and if the people surrounding you will support you in your mourning, or just tell you to keep it inside.

Wolfelt says, "Learn how to befriend their grief, and the need to take their grief, to convert it openly and authentically into mourning, which is the shared response to loss."

The doctor's public seminar on "The Desert of Grief: Finding Your Way" will be held at 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 12th in the Herrett Center's Rick Allen Room. That meeting is free.

The day long session for caregivers will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 13th. The cost is $20 per person, or $35 for two people.

Feb. 21, 2013.

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