Is there any healing power

Coping with grief - Grief: the healing power

When a loved one dies, it is not uncommon for them to leave a large void in the lives of others. Suddenly memories catch up with you everywhere: when going to the common favorite café, while listening to a certain song, while walking in the countryside. How do you deal with grief in everyday life? Indeed, there are ways to deal with the loss. The most important thing is to allow your own grief and to share it with others, says Marianne Bevier of the Federal Association for Grief Support (BVT). There is a basic difficulty with this: "You can prepare for death, but it is difficult to prepare for grief," admits Bevier. It is helpful when people can say goodbye and sort things out. "But grief comes as it comes, and we cannot plan that."

After death: a relationship can continue

It is particularly difficult to realize the death of a person if it has occurred suddenly, i.e. without a long history of illness: “Then I need a while to feel, to perceive that the other person is no longer there. I literally can't understand it because I wasn't there, ”Bevier sums up. In her opinion, there are two ways to cope with it: “One way is through the senses, so it is good when there is a farewell to the dead body. The second way of realizing is through language - by telling what happened, we can understand it. "

Klaus Onnasch, retired pastor and member of the grief specialist group in the German Hospice and Palliative Association (DHPV), is firmly convinced that other people are needed in order to be able to grieve in such a way that it helps to cope with the loss.

Getting out of grief: feeling the gap

From the outset, mourning should be communicated. There are times when it is important to withdraw. “But it is very relieving to share your grief with others. I am not alone in the pain, I can share it and by talking about it, a lot becomes clearer to me. That is also the point of mourning groups, ”emphasizes Onnasch.

Especially when a partner or a close friend with whom you have spent a lot of time has died, it is difficult to redesign everyday life. "The important thing is not just to ignore the fact that something is missing, but to feel the gap and perceive what the person has meant to you," advises Marianne Bevier. It is about learning to deal with the fact that this person is no longer there. For example, if the partner was always responsible for certain things, these things now have to be done by yourself.

Often it is the little things in everyday life that make you feel overwhelmed by grief. Klaus Onnasch recommends pausing in such situations: “I can light a candle, I can buy a bouquet of flowers myself and put it on the table. I can look at a picture of the deceased person or a photo in which the two of us can be seen together. ”Meditative elements such as conscious breathing are also important in order to find inner peace.

Memory of the deceased comes back in dreams

According to Onnasch, the connection to a loved one is by no means destroyed with death: "Today in grief counseling, one assumes that there are relationships that will last - and that it is also important to cultivate these relationships," says the former pastor . Many memories would come back in dreams. “I can record them in a dream diary or in an encounter diary.” The pastor knows from some people that they associate certain experiences with the deceased, a butterfly that has flown after them or a certain bird that is on the deceased's grave sit. "There is also the possibility to talk to the deceased," says Onnasch. “Just as we often feel very precisely and know what the partner wants to say or that we complement each other during our lifetime, this is also possible after death. A wide space can then be experienced, which is referred to by many as God's eternity. "

Marianne Bevier also considers it important to have a place where those affected can relate to the deceased. “It can be a grave, a photo, a place where we felt comfortable together. But that can also be a place within you, ”explains the theologian. "There are mourners who say: 'I don't need a cemetery, I don't need a grave, I always carry it with me." "

While women are more likely to show feelings when they are grieving, by crying or looking back at the past with a smile in memory of a shared experience, it helps men to be active, for example by creating a photo album or making music, says Bevier.

It is often not easy for the people around the mourner to give consolation. Some people are unsure how to deal with it. But it is mainly the small gestures that can help: “Listen, don't judge, be patient,” advises Marianne Bevier. “Ultimately, everyone grieves as they see fit and as it corresponds to their life story.” A normal mourning process takes between three and seven years. If you don't have the strength to listen, you should say so honestly. "But to say, now is a good time, you only achieve that mourners close themselves off and the mourning process is prolonged."

What to do after the funeral

Those who grieve often want sympathy - but sometimes it can be too much. For example, when it comes to who comes to the funeral meal after the funeral service and burial - and who is not present at the funeral feast.

If family members would like to retreat to a small group of people in a restaurant after the farewell ceremony, it can be difficult to distinguish themselves from well-meaning distant relatives or acquaintances. It can make sense to organize a helper, recommends Elisabeth Bonneau, communication expert from Freiburg: "Someone who actually stands between the mourners and the family and says: 'Please respect your wishes.'" be a middle-class family, but also someone from the funeral home.

The mourning period is individual

The World Health Organization plans to add "persistent grief disorder" as a separate clinical picture to the list of diseases and health problems in May this year. Several international associations speak out against this. "The clinical picture of persistent grief disorder destroys the understanding of grief and grief culture, which ascribes a healing power to grief," says Onnasch. Grief becomes an illness, and diagnosis can be made just six months after the loss. The mourning period is individual and should not be standardized, criticizes Onnasch. It is not the grief that makes you sick: “There are burdens that are particularly shaped by a loss. So it is the loss situation that a disturbance can bring with it - not the grief as such. "

By RND / Alena Hecker