Fall semester topics

Death and dying

Loosing someone due to terminal illness or accident or because of old age can be very difficult. Going through grief is hard regardless of age, gender or education level.

Grief is a normal and natural, though often deeply painful, response to loss. The death of a loved one is the most common way we think of loss, but many other significant changes in one's life can involve loss and therefore grief. Everyone experiences loss and grief at some time. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.

The grieving person will likely experience many changes throughout the process. Many writers and helpers have described these changes beginning with an experience of shock, followed by a long process of suffering, and finally a process of recovery.

Often, grief is accompanied by periods of fatigue, loss of motivation or desire for things that were once enjoyable, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, confusion, preoccupation, and loss of concentration. Suffering is often the most painful and protracted stage for the griever, but it is still necessary. For most people, these many emotional and physical reactions are common symptoms that will stabilize and diminish with time as the person moves through the grieving process. If these symptoms persist, it may be important to seek professional help. Recovery, the goal of grieving, is not the elimination of all the pain or the memories of the loss. Instead, the goal is to reorganize one's life so that the loss is one important part of life rather than the center of one's life. As recovery takes place, the individual is better able to accept the loss, resume a "normal" life, and to reinvest time, attention, energy and emotion into other parts of his/her life. The loss is still felt, but the loss has become part of the griever's more typical feelings and experiences. Source info

How do I get my life back together again?
Give yourself the space to grieve - don’t try and rush things along
Take care of yourself - see that you get enough sleep, exercise and food
Speak to other people - share memories of your special person
Spend time with others doing enjoyable things - at first you may not feel as if you are having much fun, but with time, things will become more of a pleasure again
Be prepared for a sudden 'out of the blue' reminder or sad feeling - it is a natural part of grieving and will pass
Take time to enjoy those special people who are still with you
If you feel you can’t cope or are being a 'burden' to those around you - consider seeking counselling. Many people do this and find it helps.
Find a way that feels comfortable to 'talk' to your special person. You may want to go somewhere special to do so or play some special music. It doesn’t matter what you choose as long as it feels ok for you. Other people may have different ideas of what you should do such as visiting the grave. If it doesn’t feel right, you may wish to do something different.
Source info
  • College Grief Information
  • Recommended books

    1. Colgrove, Bloomfield & McWilliams (1976). How to Survive the Loss of a Love. Leo Press: NY.
    2. Kreis, B. & Patty, A. (1969). Up From Grief: Patterns of Recovery. Harper and Row, San Francisco.
    3. Rando, Therese (1988) How to go on Living when Someone You Love Dies. Lexington Books: Lexington, MA.
    4. Staudacher, Carol. (1987) Beyond Grief: a Guide for Recovering from the Death of a Loved One. New Harbinger Publications: Oakland, CA.
    5. Staudacher, Carol (1995) A Time to Grieve: Meditations for Healing After the Death of a Loved One.. Harper: San Francisco.
    6. Tatelbaum, Judy (1984) The Courage to Grieve. Perennial Books: NY.

    Additional web resources