Monday, November 3, 2008

The Needs of the Grieving

Inconsolable Grief (1884)Ivan Kramskoy
In an article about Grief support in Sudbury, Ontario, funeral director, Gerry M. Lougheed, Jr. describes very clearly the needs of those in grief through his own experience.

"As a funeral director for the past 33 years, I have a lot of head knowledge. I believe I am a good and empathetic professional whose efforts are, at best, a catalyst to the grieving process. At worst, I am an event planner.
But it was when my mother died I discovered what I really needed to be -- an advocate of matters of the heart. I need to amplify the little voice in each of us, which sometimes is deafened at death by circumstances or well-meaning but over-controlling family and friends.
When mom died, I cried. I needed to express my hurt,
When Mom died, I needed to do things, tasks empowered me,
When Mom died, I needed you to be there with your expressions of care and friendship,
When Mom died, I needed to tell my stories and hear your stories about her.
When Mom died, I needed a gathering to speak, to sing to sorrow and to celebrate.
Her death was a natural experience. She died of a blood clot from her cancer drugs.
I was normal in my needs. I needed hands to hug me. I needed heads that would listen to my stories about me and my mom without judgment or hurry. I needed hearts that felt my hurt by letting me confront, not avoid, the hard work of mourning.
It is these hands, heads and hearts that help us journey through the valley of the shadow of death, realizing we are not breaking trail but following the well-trodden path of being a person who loves and is loved."

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