Nothing can fully prepare you for the emotions you may feel after a loved one dies. You might feel confusion, longing, anxiety, anger, sorrow, and even physical pain. It’s important to remember that your feelings of loss will never completely disappear, yet they will soften, and the intense pangs of grief will become less frequent. At this point we are seeking reconciliation not resolution.

Learning to live without your loved one takes time. That’s why All Care offers grief support for 13 months after the loss of a loved one in hospice care. Even if you don’t want to use our program right away, you can contact us at any time during the 13-month period. All Care’s bereavement counselor is available to you and other family members by calling 781-244-1198 or emailing bereavement@allcare.org.

On the Journey of Healing: Seek Reconciliation Not Resolution

Center for Loss | by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D

How do you ever find your way out of the wilderness of your grief? A number of psychological models describing grief refer to “resolution,” “recovery,” “reestablishment,” or “reorganization” as being the destination of your grief journey.

But you may also be coming to understand one of the fundamental truths of grief: Grief never truly ends. People do not “get over” grief. My personal and professional experience tells me that a total return to “normalcy” after the death of someone loved is not possible; we are all forever changed by the experience of grief.

Reconciliation is a term I find more appropriate for what occurs as you work to integrate the new reality of moving forward in life without the physical presence of the person who died. With reconciliation comes a renewed sense of energy and confidence, an ability to fully acknowledge the reality of the death and a capacity to become re-involved in the activities of living. There is also an acknowledgment that pain and grief are difficult, yet necessary, parts of life.

Mourning never really ends. Only as time goes on, it erupts less frequently.

As the experience of reconciliation unfolds, you will recognize that life is and will continue to be different without the presence of the person who died. Changing the relationship with the person who died from one of presence to one of memory and redirecting one’s energy and initiative toward the future often takes longer—and involves more hard work—than most people are aware. We, as human beings, never resolve our grief, but instead become reconciled to it.

We come to reconciliation in our grief journeys when the full reality of the death becomes a part of us. Beyond an intellectual working through of the death, there is also an emotional and spiritual working through. What had been understood at the “head” level is now understood at the “heart” level.

Keep in mind that reconciliation doesn’t just happen. You can help others reach it through encouraging their deliberate mourning. Grief can be reconciled by:

  • talking it out,
  • writing it out,
  • crying it out,
  • thinking it out,
  • dancing it out,
  • playing it out,
  • painting it out,
  • etcetera!

Link to the full article at the Center for Loss

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