- Beyond Indigo is a great resource for anyone dealing with a loss, planning services or caring for others. You may share your experiences with others.
- Grief Net. org is a good place to visit if you are feeling alone in your grief. It is an online system of support groups.
- Grief Inc. A resource for books, memorial products, and presentations.
- Grow Is dedicated to providing each of its members with the most comprehensive website available on the Internet. We are not just about “grieving,” we are about recovery, educating and making you aware of all resources available to you.
- The Grieving Process Depending on the nature of your relationship with the deceased, you may or may not go through a grieving process following his or her death. Grief is a universal, natural and normal response to significant loss of any kind. It is how we process and heal from an important loss. Grief can be a painful and tiring experience. Understanding the grieving experience and how best to cope with it can help you recover from grief of any kind.
- Stages of Grief Within the first few weeks to months after a death, your grief may have you yourself riding on a roller coaster of shifting emotions. Most people go through these stages of grief and loss not in linear steps, but in unpredictable waves-moving through one stage of grief to the next and sometimes shifting back. Some people will experience certain grief stages but not others. Here are some common, typical grief reactions:Shock and Disbelief – the numbing and disorienting sense that the death has not really happened which can last from several hours to several days.
Anger – at the deceased, yourself, others and/or your God for what has happened.
Guilt – you may blame yourself for not doing or knowing more, or for not dealing with any “unfinished business” that you had with the deceased.
Sadness – you may experience a deep sense of loss and grief find yourself crying. There may be a tendency to withdraw or isolate yourself. You may lose interest in your usual activities, or feel helpless or hopeless. Other recent or past losses may come back to you.
Fear – your grief may cause anxiety or panic; fears about the future. It may bring up your fears about your own sense of mortality and that of loved ones.
Acceptance – finally, a stage of grief where you adjust to the loss and move on from it, while continuing to honor the deceased’s memory.
People in grief from a loss may experience physical reactions, such as fatigue, sleep disruption, appetite changes, tenseness, and aches and pains. Common psychological symptoms include feeling distracted, forgetful, irritable, disoriented, or confused.
- Ways to Cope with the Loss and grief Acknowledge the Loss – It is better to give yourself and others permission to talk about what has happened and its impact than to go on as if nothing had happened. It may be helpful to allow time at academic or staff meetings for people who want to to check in on how they are doing.Acknowledge Individual Reactions – When a co-worker or colleague dies it affects each person in the work unit or department grieve in a very different way. Some are deeply affected by the loss while others are not. Some people want to talk about their feelings brought on by grief while others want to deal with them in private. It may take some much longer than others to adjust to the loss. While many people find comfort from strong religious or spiritual beliefs, others will not share those belief systems. Be aware of the different ways that people understand and react to the loss and respect those differences.
Be Kind to Each Other – This is not an easy time for any work group and many adjustments have to be made. People may not be at their best. Be accommodating, gentle and understanding with one another during this time of grief. Find ways to cooperate to share any additional workload.
Self Care – You may need to give yourself extra amounts of things that nourish and replenish you – rest, relaxation, exercise, diversions. Grief from loss can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Express your thoughts and feelings to trusted people as that can be most helpful. For some it helps to write things down as a means of expression.
Give Yourself and Others Time – In our culture there is a tendency to deny the effects of grief and loss and expect ourselves and others to quickly “get over” a loss. We also fail to acknowledge that the anniversary of losses can trigger a re-cycling of loss reactions. Allow yourself and others the time to grieve, it takes for each individual to process the loss. This loss may also bring up deaths of loved ones in the past that you will revisit.
Funeral and Memorial Events – For many attending such events can significantly help the healing process. Managers and faculty representatives can give information to everyone on arrangements that have been made and when feasible, provide time to attend for those who are interested. If the events are out of town, people may want to find ways to memorialize the loss locally. If you are uncomfortable attending such events, you may find your own individual way of “saying goodbye”.
Honor the Deceased – Consider honoring the person(s) who died in an appropriate way, e.g. collecting money for a charity, creating a memorial book or bulletin board, sending a letter to the deceased’s loved ones. Constructive actions, such as, donating blood or getting involved in volunteer organizations are helpful to some.
Be Resourceful – You may need some professional assistance with your grief, if you find yourself not able to function as you would like as a result of the loss. Perhaps you have suffered other recent losses as well. Loss can trigger clinical depression which should be treated professionally. In addition to the onsite grief groups that are provided, faculty, staff, post docs and visiting scholars can call CARE Services for an individual appointment for a free and confidential consultation with a licensed staff mental health professional. If you are concerned about a coworker or colleague, remind them about CARE.
Facts about Suicide
Most of us know very little about suicide and therefore can make false assumptions when someone we know kills themselves. For this reason it is helpful to know the following facts:
- Suicide claims approximately 30,000 lives a year in the United States
- Every suicide is a unique story. Suicide is a multi determined act that results from a complex interaction among many factors including but not limited to: family history of suicide, psychiatric illness such as depression, substance use, physical illness and chronic pain, hopelessness, high anxiety and agitation, life crises, access to means, and willingness to secure professional treatment.
- Suicide is a rare, unpredictable event. Mental health professionals do the best they can to recognize and deal with suicide indicators given the complexity of a suicide event. There is no predictable “profile” of a person who will commit suicide.
- Suicide risk factors and thinking are present in many individuals with depression who do not commit suicide.
- Studies show that patients frequently deny to their mental health providers any suicidal ideation, intent or plan before attempting or committing suicide. In some cases, those who commit suicide appear especially functional and engaged with life before they kill themselves.
- Suicide rates for all college-age individuals have been climbing since 1950. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those age 15 to 24 years of age. The highest rate of suicide is among white males.
- Though there are some warning signs for suicide and intervention usually works, people with a high intent to commit suicide usually do not tell others they are thinking about suicide. They hide the information from treatment providers and family, friends and colleagues.
- Most successful suicides are accomplished with a firearm. Men are four times more likely to die by suicide. Women make more suicide attempts than men.
- A history of previous attempts at suicide heightens the risk of a successful suicide.
Suicide rates increase with age, especially for those age 65 and older with serious physical problems and who are divorced or lacking in social support. Common Reactions to Suicide by Someone We Know:
Unique to Each Person: Each person will have their own unique and individual response to the death by suicide of someone they know. It is important to respect these differences and understand them. Some people want to talk about it and some do not. Some people will show their reactions openly and others will not.
Shock and Disbelief: Typically people experience immense shock and disbelief when learning of a suicide. It may take quite a long time to struggle with questions about why this happened.
Irrational Guilt: Family, friends and colleagues frequently feel irrational guilt after a suicide believing that somehow they should have recognized the threat and that they could have done something to prevent the suicide. This guilt is a common reaction but it is unwarranted. Even expert and responsible mental health professionals may have trouble recognizing periods of risk.
Feelings of Inadequacy: Survivors may experience the suicide as a personal rejection. They may also feel that if they had been more knowledgeable and capable they could have prevented the suicide.
Blaming: A common reaction could include blaming those close to the victim who one thinks should have recognized any warning signs or prevented the act. This is an understandable grief reaction, but is inaccurate, unwarranted and may compound the grief of those who are left behind.
Anger: A common reaction for those close to suicides. One can feel emotionally rejected, made the object of blame or speculations, or left to handle the emotional and practical difficulties of a death by suicide. Suicide usually produces more anger than any other type of death.
Sadness: As with any loss, feelings of sadness and depression are typical aspects of the response to the death by suicide of someone we know.