When the calls and visits taper off

Posted on June 14, 2017 by Errol Castens under Community, Grief
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In the shock of the loss of a loved one, it seems impossible to believe that the world keeps moving.

You see people driving along the highway to jobs, classes, ball games, and social events, and you wonder how their worlds could remain so normal while yours has fallen apart.

You flinch at the realization that a few pages over from your loved one’s obituary, people are still seeking out the comics, baseball scores, and advice columns as usual.

Early support

One upside of the first few days after a death is that emotional support and practical help are often plentiful: Family and friends are close at hand, and even casual acquaintances who know of your loss will be solicitous about your feelings and needs.

Then, it changes. A few days after the funeral you may find yourself in a quiet house, wondering how to live in a space that seems strangely unfamiliar. Within a month, the calls and cards may have tapered off. Eventually, most people stop mentioning your loved one. It may even seem the world has forgotten you. So, what do you do now?

Ongoing helps

No one has all the answers, but here are a few suggestions:

·         Join a grief support group. (Call Coleman Funeral Home at 662-234-3900 for some meeting times and places, or read this blog.) People going through agony together can bring comfort to each other that “normal” people cannot. Support groups also provide practical advice that help you see your loss in new and helpful ways.

·         Spend time with someone who’s ahead of you in recovering from grief. Friends who have rebuilt their lives after similar losses may have insights and encouragements that will help you.

·         Let others know you’re still hurting. When friends ask how you are, don’t try to wear a smiley face that belies your pain.

·         Keep a journal. For some people, working out their feelings in writing offers a kind of healing different from talking to others.

·         Don’t be a hermit. Give yourself private time to grieve, certainly, but don’t cut yourself off from other people. Friends may be unsure about when you want company, so take the initiative if necessary.

·         Part of that initiative-taking may be resuming activities that gave you pleasure and purpose – church, social activities, athletics, arts, volunteering, family gatherings, etc. – before your loss.

Don’t be forced into something before you’re ready: Grieving has no defined timeline, route, or destination. Nevertheless, it is a journey that requires forward motion to make progress.

Errol Castens

Aftercare coordinator, Coleman Funeral Home of Oxford/Olive Branch

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