In mourning the loss of a friend or family member who has been under hospice care, it helps knowing that their last days were made as comfortable and as pain-free as possible. The decision to use hospice services means that the patient and family has probably had some time to make end-of-life preparations. When the time does come, however, we may never be fully prepared to deal with our own emotional loss and the grief of others within our friends and family circle.
Everyone Grieves Differently
Some people need to express their emotions immediately, and without restraint, and they should. Other’s may be more comfortable not dealing with the reality in the moment. They may prefer quite solitude until they can work their emotions out. Do not judge other’s by their emotional reactions and do allow yourself to grieve at your own pace, in your own way. Ultimately, however, there is no better therapy for dealing with the passing of a loved one then sharing and communicating your feelings with the other people who share the loss with you.
Too often, someone who loses someone who is a core component of their life, like a mate, child, or sibling, may receive the love and support of friends and family during the hospice, wake, and funeral services but find themselves too alone with their feelings once every one else returns to their everyday life routines. It is important to stay in touch with those who’s world will remain impacted. Make future plans with them during the initial mourning period, and follow up as often as possible.
Rebuilding Our Lives
When the time is right, encourage the person left behind to add new pieces to their life. We can’t replace or forget the loved ones we lose, but we can fill time in our lives and eventually fill the empty spaces with people and experiences that make us happy.
Therapists and Group Counseling for Grief, Bereavement, Mourning:
Friends and family may not be enough. There are professionals trained to deal with your issues and sometimes there may be group therapy available that focuses on circumstances that may be very specific to your situation.
- It can be comforting to remember that a core foundation of most of the world’s religions is that death is just part of the cycle of life and our true spiritual self is eternal.
- Consider that staying in service to others who need help is a great way to not become too self-adsorbed in our own grief or misfortune. Charitable work can be rewarding and fulfilling in itself.
- Physical exercise enhances both physical and mental health. Consider a gym membership or weekly sport activity with a friend.
- Dating services are an obvious option for someone who has lost a mate, however, the healthiest approach is for an individual to regain some of their independence and emotional strength before becoming emotional dependent on another person again. Dating success is a trial and error experience best managed from a position of emotional stability rather than vulnerability.
- Hobbies: Over the course of a life there are likely many interests that we acquired and may have set aside. Revive them. Better yet, try something new and share it as a group experience. Sites like http://Meetup.org will help you find and facilitate group experiences in your local community.
- Writing can be therapeutic and there are an abundance of social media and other online activities that may be helpful outlets for expression. But don’t let it be a substitute for in-person interaction. The healthiest experiences for anyone dealing with a relatively new loss in their life is face-to-face interactions.
Our staff of professional hospice care givers at Family Comfort Hospice can provide further help and guidance specific to the needs of the friends and family of patients who have been in our care.