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Revised: 8/20/10

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart."
- Helen Keller

"Grief is not a problem to be solved. It is simply a statement that you have loved someone."
- Author Unknown


Although the Staff of Meadowlark Hospice helps prepare family and friends for the loss of a loved one, additional support is often needed after the loss occurs. Meadowlark Hospice can help individuals deal with their grief through:

• Individual and Family Counseling
• Volunteer Visits
• Holiday Programs
• Bereavement Support Groups that focus on learning about loss and grief

If at any time you need assistance with the grief process, Meadowlark Hospice staff is available to assist you. Please call our office at (785) 632-2225.

General Timetable of Grief
*Grief is unique for each person! There are no absolute stages or timetables
everyone must go through during their grief journey.

Stage One: Feelings may include shock, numbness, and disbelief.  We may feel the loss is unreal.  We may be on “automatic pilot”- just going through the motions.  This gets us through funeral arrangements, visitors, paperwork, etc.  This stage sometimes lasts one-three months.

Stage Two: Feelings of numbness and shock may begin to wear off.  We begin the difficult journey of understanding our loss is real.  We may still be looking for our deceased loved one to come back into our life again.  Family and Friends don’t visit as often, and may begin to pressure us to get back to “normal” life.  This stage generally takes place about the third month after loss.

Stage Three: We allow ourselves to experience the pain of grief in all of its forms.  These difficult periods are NORMAL- not a set-back or lack of progress!  This third stage sometimes lasts the fourth-twelfth months.

Stage Four: We begin to experience more good days than bad days.  We identify how our environment has changed and begin to develop new roles, routines, and skills in response to the changes.  Significant anniversaries may still affect us and challenge us.  This stage is often experienced during the second year.

Stage Five: We choose to say “yes” to life again.  We no longer focus as much energy on the loss, and find renewed energy.  We understand we will be able to live a happy, full life again, although it will always be different than before the loss.

Myths about Grief

  1. Grief lasts only a few weeks, several months at most.

  2. Time heals all wounds.

  3. If you have a strong faith, you shouldn’t grieve.

  4. Expressions of grief have no place in the public eye.

  5. Getting and keeping busy is the best way to handle grief.

  6. You should see the body in order to heal your grief.

  7. A good cry is necessary once in a while.

  8. You need to move on with your life in order to get over grief.

  9. Dwelling on death and the deceased makes grief worse.

  10. Children, especially young children, do not understand death and therefore, do not grieve.

Grief: A Turning Point In Life
By Patricia Andrus, M.S. C.F.L.E., C.G.C.

Someone significant in my life has died. Where do I turn? What do I do? How can I cope? I've never experienced this kind of grief, fear and pain. I feel paralyzed and overwhelmed, and I don't see how I can ever put the pieces of my life into some order again.

I may not make it. My anger has no outlet. I see no purpose in living now. I have seldom been dependent on others, yet now even the smallest chore seems impossible to accomplish.

I hurt and I cannot understand why other people's lives seem not to have changed, too, after my loved one died. My world has dimmed as if the candles around me have gone out. I feel empty, and I am filled with questions. Why did this happen? What could I have done to make a difference? Will this grief ever end?

This description of the inner turmoil that occurs when there is a death may overlap our individual experiences perfectly or there may be some differences. But our personal stories will probably reflect our confusion, disorientation, despair and loneliness, along with a mixture of other thoughts and emotions.

If we can remember that we have successfully overcome grief from other events in our lives, we may begin to see some of the coping skills that helped reestablish comfortable patterns of living. Job changes, moves, illnesses, natural aging processes, children growing up and moving out, divorce, severe financial difficulties and tragic accidents are some other sources of intense grief. These may also have seemed impossible at the time, yet here we are today, albeit changed.

We have acquired an added wisdom and depth that often comes to humans only through hardship. Even though we may struggle with sadness, bitterness and anger over the situations that led us to this point in life, we see growth in ourselves. This will be true again, even though it is hard to imagine now that we'll ever feel anything but our immediate pain.

Grief is an emotion, a set of complex reactions to loss in life. Mourning is the outward expression of our grief. It is the outward sharing (through talking crying and screaming) of our shock, denial, sadness, anger, hurt and loneliness. Even silence and apparent withdrawal can be ways to mourn. Reaching out to others - family, friends, support groups, clergy and counselors - is a sign of strength. When seen in this light, our tears become diamonds, bright and valuable. Our words are salve for our wounds, helping us heal into wholeness. Mourning becomes our special time of healing, growing, and changing.

Fully experiencing our grief is the only way through it. We are each unique in how we mourn. If we choose to stuff our pain away, we may find ourselves challenged by it later - when we least expect it.

Moving through the grief process takes time, self-trust and self-patience. Being kind and loving with ourselves is the greatest gift we can give ourselves. As with other times in life, our healing comes from within. Our inherent strength is a warm blanket held close to our bodies by comforting arms.

I pushed against the pain
the terrible sadness
the dreaded despair.
I said, ‘This is no way to live.
Life is too short.
to be victorious
I will rise above the pain.’
But loss said,
‘This is no way to live.
Life is too short
to pretend it doesn’t hurt.
To be victorious
go through the pain
toward the promise.’

By- Susan Lenzkes

For further information on grief, go to www.nhpco.org or www.hospicefoundation.org or call our office at (785) 632-2225

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