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If you build it, they will come. 

~Field of Dreams

Helping Others Grieve and Knowing When to Get Help – Learning #5 of 5

Relaxed. A summer afternoon watching the Springfield Cardinals with the kids 30 years ago. My sister Betty and I were chatting away, paying no attention as the kids rooted on the team. Next thing I know, pain rushes through my arm. “What happened?” is screaming in my head. Our son proudly chases the ball that hit my left arm and holds it up. “I got it, Mom,” he beams. 

The usher rushes over and ice helps ease the pain. “I’m fine, no worries.”  And, with Ibuprofen, rest and ice, it seemed to get better over the next few weeks. But, not all the way better. It still hurt to lift things and sleep. I finally succumbed and went to the doctor. The x-ray confirmed a small break and she put me in an immobilizing sling. “Good thing you came in when you did, we didn’t have to re-break and cast it” she said. “If you’d have waited any longer it would have been much worse.”

My arm healed up just fine after the month. I kicked myself for being so stubborn and not going earlier.  But, I think I can fix things myself and try to. 

Grief is often like that arm of mine. We tough through the initial weeks and think we are doing ok. We work through the initial shock and denial of what happened. Powerful emotions such as anger, fear and intense sadness follow. We humans have the blessing of being able to love intensely, and we also have the capacity to hurt intensely. All of which is perfectly natural. And hard. 

And, many of us like to think we are strong, not weak, and getting help may be thought of as a sign of weakness. In reality, getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Grief is normal and it’s prudent to seek out resources and support in a professional and safe environment. 

To accept help the griever has to be ready. Ready to better understand the grieving process and share their pain. Ready to accept that you do just not get over grief, you reconcile and adjust to your loss.  To accept that time does not heal, but how time is spent working through your loss does heal. Coping with feelings of sadness and depression can become overwhelming and grief counseling can help you travel this grief journey successfully. 

So, how do you know you need help?

Let’s consider some questions:

  1. Are you highly anxious, irritable, and intolerant most days?
  2. Do you feel a sense of isolation from others, avoiding time with friends and family?
  3. Are you feeling a numbness to emotion or a sense of hopelessness?
  4. Are you continually preoccupied with your loved one even though it’s been several months since his or her death?
  5. Do you feel stuck in your grief in some way, unable to move on?

If you answer yes to any of these, it’s time to get help.

If you answer yes to the questions below, get help immediately – do not wait:

Do you find yourself acting in ways that might prove harmful to you – drinking more, using drugs, driving in an unsafe manner or entertaining serious thoughts about harming yourself?

We are fortunate in Southwestern Illinois because there is a place to call. Heartlinks Grief Center in Belleville provides grief counseling with professional counselors. Individual and group sessions are available. Here is the link to their website for contact information and resources:  http://myheartlinks.com/

I imagine some of you, dear readers, are thinking, “I can fix myself, I don’t need help.” Like me and my arm, we are wired to try. But, know it’s a sign of how strong you are to accept help in your grief. Taking action and working on your grief will help you journey through grief to a new reality without your loved one. From grief to growth.

Start that journey – call today.

Be Blessed,

Ellen

“We Grow Stronger Together”

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on Amazon.com

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