Grief may be experienced in response to physical losses, such as death, or in response to symbolic or social losses such as divorce or loss of a job. The grief experience can be affected by one’s history and support system. Taking care of yourself and accessing the support of friends and family can help you cope with your grief experience.
Mourning is the expression of the emotions and thoughts related to grief. Most individuals who suffer the loss of a loved one will grieve, but not all will externalize their grief. To mourn is to release those emotions in order to allow for healing. This release can be through emoting (crying, etc.), talking, writing, physical activities (running, exercise) or any other healthy method of release.
Bereavement is the state of grief and a time period of mourning after a loss, generally referring to the loss of a loved one. Bereavement work involves the truthful and honest experiencing of the full range of emotions which occur during one’s grieving process. Every individual’s grieving process will be as unique as their relationship with their loved one. Throughout bereavement, grief can be cyclical, meaning that it can come and go. One moment may be different from the next and it sometimes feels as though you are moving backward along this road. You would not be the only person feeling that way.
The most important thing to remember during this time is to be compassionate toward yourself. Losing someone you love can change your entire world. It becomes important to honor and experience your needs and emotions as they are, not how you or anyone else wants them to be or thinks they should be. This is your time to do what is best for you.
The Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center will hold an Expressive Arts Workshop for Adults on Wednesdays in September starting on the 4th. The weekly, two-hour workshop, 6 – 8 p.m., will explore ways to mourn and release emotions through various modalities including, art, drama, music, journaling and reading. The workshop is open to anyone in the community and registration is limited. There is a $100 fee to help cover the cost of materials and supplies.
Other resources available to everyone in the community include our Bereavement website CopeWithGrief.org. an online resource page which is readily available to you at any time.
Peer support groups can be a tremendous resource during challenging times. They provide an opportunity to share your story with others as well as to hear from others who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Please visit our website to view the group schedule. In the event you cannot access our online resources, please contact our Bereavement Center to speak with our staff at 973-948-2283.
If you find yourself continuing to struggle during your grieving process and feel you may benefit from some individual support, our Bereavement Center offers one-on-one counseling. There is a suggested donation amount of $25 per session, but no one is ever denied access to services based on ability to pay.
Joel T. Peterson, MSW, LSW
Community Outreach and Education