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Bereavement (Grief and Loss)/ Illness and End of Life

Elizabeth Hubler-Ross first wrote about grief in her book on “Death and Dying.”The stages of mourning and grief are universal and are experienced by people from all walks of life. Mourning occurs in response to an individual’s own terminal illness, the loss of a close relationship, or the death of a valued being, human or animal. Other endings such as loss of work, loss of friendships, or other losses that are important to that person may bring out similar feelings though the feelings may be less intense. Illness can bring thoughts and fears of dying. Feelings of being incapacitated or a loss of independence are other possible feelings. The five stages of normal grief according to Elizabth Kubler-Ross are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages do not necessarily occur in the order she lists them and a grieving person can go through some stages more than once. Hope is an additional feeling that has been found with people who experience serious illness.

There are many strategies to help people who are grieving and the following are a few I have found successful. Collages to celebrate the life of their loved ones and their loved ones interests are helpful. Talking and expressing grief while they create the collage about the person they are grieving is helpful. Doing a loss collage regardless of what or who the loss is helps with the grief process. Writing letters often assists many people with their loss. The use of EMDR can bring back details of memories forgotten and is helpful for the grief process. Individual or group therapy are both helpful.