Mature Grief: When a Parent Dies

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In the United States of America, local hospice agencies may provide a first contact for those seeking bereavement support. It is important to recognize when grief has turned into something more serious, thus mandating contacting a medical professional. Grief can result in depression or alcohol- and drug-abuse and, if left untreated, it can become severe enough to impact daily living. Professionals can use multiple ways to help someone cope and move through their grief. Hypnosis is sometimes used as an adjunct therapy in helping patients experiencing grief. Lichtenthal and Cruess studied how bereavement-specific written disclosure had benefits in helping adjust to loss, and in helping improve the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD , prolonged grief disorder, and depression.

Directed writing helped many of the individuals who had experienced a loss of a significant relationship. It involved individuals trying to make meaning out of the loss through sense making , making sense of what happened and the cause of the death , or through benefit finding consideration of the global significance of the loss of one's goals, and helping the family develop a greater appreciation of life. This meaning-making can come naturally for some, but many need direct intervention to "move on".

Support groups for bereaved individuals follow a diversity of patterns. Other grief support groups are led by professionals, perhaps with the assistance of peers. Each culture specifies manners such as rituals, styles of dress, or other habits, as well as attitudes, in which the bereaved are encouraged or expected to take part. An analysis of non-Western cultures suggests that beliefs about continuing ties with the deceased varies. In Japan, maintenance of ties with the deceased is accepted and carried out through religious rituals.

In the Hopi of Arizona, the deceased are quickly forgotten and life continues on. Different cultures grieve in different ways, but all have ways that are vital in healthy coping with the death of a loved one. Glen Coughlin. The short story gives an inside look at how the American culture has learned to cope with the tribulations and difficulties of grief.

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Columbia University [60]. Some believe that those who have a high degree of cognitive impairment, such as an intellectual disability, are unable to process the loss of those around them, but this is untrue, those with cognitive impairments such as an intellectual disability are able to process grief in a similar manner to those without cognitive impairment. By having the family involved in an open and supporting dialogue with the individual it helps them to process. However, if the family is not properly educated on how these individuals handle loss, their involvement may not be as beneficial than those who are educated.

The importance of the family unit is very crucial in a soci-cognitive approach to bereavement counseling. In this approach the individual with intellectual disability has the opportunity to see how those around them handle the loss and have the opportunity to act accordingly by modeling behavior. This approach also helps the individual know that their emotions are ok and normal.

Previously it was believed that grief was only a human emotion, but studies have shown that other animals have shown grief or grief-like states during the death of another animal, most notably Elephants , wolves , apes , and goats. This can occur between bonded animals which are animals that attempt to survive together i.

Mammals have demonstrated grief-like states, especially between a mother and her offspring. She will often stay close to her dead offspring for short periods of time and may investigate the reasons for the baby's non-response. For example, some deer will often sniff, poke, and look at its lifeless fawn before realising it is dead and leaving it to rejoin the herd shortly afterwards. Other animals, such as a lioness , will pick up its cub in its mouth and place it somewhere else before abandoning it. When a baby chimpanzee or gorilla dies, the mother will carry the body around for several days before it may finally be able to move on without it; this behavior has been observed in other primates , as well.

Jane Goodall has described chimpanzees as exhibiting mournful behavior toward the loss of a group member with silence and by showing more attention to it. And they will often continue grooming it and stay close to the carcass until the group must move on without it. Another notable example is Koko , a gorilla that uses sign language , who expressed sadness and even described sadness about the death of her pet cat, All Ball. Elephants , have shown unusual behavior upon encountering the remains of another deceased elephant. They will often investigate it by touching and grabbing it with their trunks and have the whole herd stand around it for long periods of time until they must leave it behind.

It is unknown whether they are mourning over it and showing sympathy, or are just curious and investigating the dead body. Elephants are thought to be able to discern relatives even from their remains. An episode of the acclaimed BBC Documentary Life on Earth shows this in detail — the elephants, upon finding a dead herd member, pause for several minutes at a time, and carefully touch and hold the dead creature's bones.

Some birds seem to lack the perception of grief or quickly accept it- for example, Mallard hens, although shocked for a moment when losing one of their young to a predator, will soon return to doing what they were doing before the predator attacked. However, some other waterbirds, such as Mute swans , are known to grieve for the loss of a partner or cygnet, and are known to engage in pining for days, weeks or even months at a time.

Another form of grief in animals is when an individual loses its mate; this can be especially brutal when the species is monogamous. So when a pair bonding species, such as a black-backed jackal , loses its mate it can be very difficult for it to detach itself from its dead mate. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Grief disambiguation and Griefing. Main article: George Bonanno. For other uses, see Bereavement disambiguation.

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Mourning. Archived from the original on Retrieved How to go on living when someone you love dies.

Rando, P. Lexington Books. Death Studies. What's Your Grief. American Psychologist. Scientific American. Save the Date: It's a Ghanaian Funeral". The New York Times. John Biological Psychiatry. Mourning and Melancholia.


Strachey Ed. London, England: Hogarth Press. The nature of grief: The evolution and psychology of reactions to loss. London, England: Routledge. An evolutionary framework for understanding grief. Carr, R. Wortman Eds. New York, New York: Springer.

Personality and Social Psychology Review. Social Psychiatry. PLoS Medicine. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. Journal of Affective Disorders. In Complicated grief. Annual Review of Medicine. Journalism and Ethics: Can They Co-exist? Matthew Kieran Ed , Health and Social Care in the Community.

European Journal of Cancer Care. Ageing International. Gill White, Ph.

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Accessed September 7, Salter; Bell, Silvia M. Child Development. Trauma and Loss: Research and Interventions. Nat'l Inst for Trauma and Loss in Children. Archived from the original on May 7, Other days, we feel like life has returned to normal—at least until we realize that our life has changed irrevocably. Despite the gamut of emotions we feel, grieving for a loved one helps us cope and heal. The intense, heart-breaking anguish indicates that a deep connection has been severed.

Without a doubt, grieving is painful. But it is also necessary. It simply means that your grief has run its course. Who is to blame? Unless she is already comfortable with a certain provider, now is not the time to put her in daycare. Expect regressive behaviors from bereaved toddlers.

Those who slept well before may now wake up during the night. Independent children may now be afraid to leave their parents' side. Formerly potty-trained kids may need diapers again. All of these behaviors are normal grief responses. They are the toddler's way of saying, "I'm upset by this death and I need to be taken care of right now.

Coping With Death and Grief | Focus on the Family

Toddlers learn by imitation. If you grieve in healthy ways, toddlers will learn to do the same. Don't hide your feelings when you're around children.

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  6. Instead, share them. Cry if you want to. Be angry if you want to. Let the toddler know that these painful feelings are not directed at him and are not his fault, however. Sometimes you may feel so overwhelmed by your own grief that you can't make yourself emotionally available to the bereaved toddler. You needn't feel guilty about this; it's OK to need some "alone time" to mourn. In fact, the more fully you allow yourself to do your own work of mourning, the sooner you'll be available to help the child.

    In the meantime, make sure other caring adults are around to nurture the bereaved toddler. Since the funeral is a significant event, children-no matter how young-should have the same opportunity to attend as any other member of the family. Encourage, but never force.

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    Explain the purpose of the funeral to toddlers: a time to be happy about our love for Grandma, a time to be sad that she is gone, a time to say goodbye. When they choose to, young children can participate in the funeral by lighting a candle or placing a momento or photo in the casket. For toddlers, viewing the body of the person who died can also be a positive experience. It provides an opportunity for you to show them what death looks like. Explain that the person is not sleeping, but has stopped breathing and functioning altogether. As with attending the funeral, however, seeing the body should not be forced.

    While taking an infant or toddler to the funeral may seem unimportant now, think what that inclusion will mean to her later. As a teenager and adult, she will feel good knowing that instead of being home with a babysitter, she was included in this meaningful ritual. Very few of us remember things that happened before we were four or five years old.

    So though he may have one or two vague and fleeting memories from this time period, it is unlikely the bereaved infant or toddler will clearly remember the person who died. But when they get older, bereaved children will naturally be curious about this important person they never had a chance to know.