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Who has the Worst Pain


During the 28 years I have been interacting with bereaved people, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is, "Who has the worst pain?" Do bereaved parents suffer more than widows and widowers? Do children whose parents die feel more agony than children who lose a sibling? Is it harder to watch a loved one suffer for a long time before death releases the victim than it is to answer the doorbell or the phone at midnight and suddenly hear the news of tragedy? Is suicide worse than homicide? Is the death of an "older" child more difficult to grieve than the death of a newborn or infant?

If there were one, clear and definitive answer to those questions, grieving could be neatly catalogued and mourners could be organized into convenient categories. Our comforters and caregivers would then be able to select from a predictable menu of helps, and everyone could get "healed" more quickly and efficiently. If only....

But the truth is it makes little difference how our loved ones died, at what ages, or what our relationships were named. The pain of grief is agony no matter how or when it happens.

Long-term dying is not better or worse than sudden death-it is different.

Mourning the death of an infant is not better or worse than mourning the death of a teenager-it is different.

The grief of the widowed is not better or worse than the grief of bereaved parents-it is different.

Death by homicide is not easier or harder than death by suicide-it is different. And the list goes on and on?

There is no adequate preparation for the loneliness and emptiness that must be squarely faced when we finally come to the realization that we will never again in this life see that one who is so precious to us. In every case the mourning period can be just as painful and difficult for one as it is for another, but the grief needs of the bereaved can be very different.

When the relationship to a loved one was cemented with the permanent "super glue" of devotion and commitment, death causes a ripping apart that leaves the survivor with a devastating and gaping wound, regardless of how the death occurred or what the relationship was named.

However, if the adhesive that formed the relationship bond was simply "pressure sensitive," the separation may involve no more than the sting of tape being quickly pulled off skin. The pain may be sharp but short-lived, regardless of the type of death or the kind of connection. It all depends on how bonded the survivor was to the deceased.

In our society, a "friendship" may not be taken as seriously as a blood relationship; an engagement may not be perceived as importantly as a marriage; the death of a parent may be assumed to be a more deeply felt loss than it truly was to the surviving child or children. And we must never assume that a long-term dying process has fulfilled the "grief quota" of the survivors who loved and lost!

It's not fair to assume that if mourners have some advance warning that the death is coming, their grieving time is shorter or less intense. We must be careful not to confuse the natural relief that the deceased is finally beyond the reach of suffering with the assumption that the grief of missing them will be abated.

By inadvertently giving our society the message that certain kinds of relationships or certain kinds of experiences are "worse" or "better" than others, the grief support for some survivors may be in danger of being prematurely aborted or even ignored entirely.

Grief is an individual experience and comforters and caregivers must be careful to support the bereaved on a very personal, each-case basis. Mourners feel the pain of grief in direct proportion to their perception of how important the loved one was in their lives, and that value is entirely subjective.

There is really only one criteria that establishes the quality and quantity of mourning: The intensity of grieving is directly related to the intensity of bonding.

Good Grief Resources (http://www.goodgriefresources.com) was conceived and founded by Andrea Gambill whose 17-year-old daughter died in 1976. In 1977, she founded one of the earliest chapters of The Compassionate Friends, an international bereaved-parent support group. In 1987, she founded and edited Bereavement magazine, and in 2000, she joined Centering Corporation as Editor of their new magazine, Grief Digest. Twenty eight years of experience in grief support has provided valuable insights into the unique needs of the bereaved and their caregivers and wide access to many excellent resources.


MORE RESOURCES:

Grief - Google News

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Grief supports groups to meet - Fremont Tribune


Fremont Tribune

Grief supports groups to meet
Fremont Tribune
Fremont Health has scheduled grief support groups for youth and adults for Thursdays, Feb. 1, 8, and 15, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., on the third floor of Fremont Health's Health Park Plaza. These groups are open to anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one ...

Three years without my dad and the grief has changed - 9Honey


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Three years without my dad and the grief has changed
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The grief I feel now is also this - that his little ways, his fun jokes, his weird facial expressions are all gone with him and Maddy my niece will never get to enjoy them. Christmas isn't the same without him, the family traditions and jokes all ...

Suggestions offered for coping with community's grief after a child dies of the flu - WTRF


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Wheeling - Dr. John McFadden, clinical psychologist, says it's not typical for a child to die from the flu. So that's part of what's driving our shock and sadness in Wheeling. Not just the little girl's family and friends but the whole community is ...

Angels Across the USA to offer grief support - The News Herald


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Angels Across the USA to offer grief support
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PANAMA CITY — Angels Across the USA, a musical and inspirational evening for bereaved families, will be next month in Panama City. Alan Pedersen and Mitch Carmody, both fathers who have been through painful losses, are visiting more than 100 cities ...

Why are we so bad at talking about grief? - Minnesota Public Radio News


Minnesota Public Radio News

Why are we so bad at talking about grief?
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It's hard to know what to say to someone who is grieving, but Gabrielle Birkner and Rebecca Soffer are trying to make those tough conversations a little easier. Their new book "Modern Loss: Candid Conversations about Grief. Beginners Welcome" is unlike ...

Hospice opens place for grieving children - The San Diego Union-Tribune


The San Diego Union-Tribune

Hospice opens place for grieving children
The San Diego Union-Tribune
The hospice's expanded children's bereavement program, led by Melissa Lunardini, includes school-based support groups in 15 school districts, peer grief support groups in Mission Valley and Escondido, Camp Erin San Diego, crisis intervention and one-on ...

Tributes pour in for Bra Hugh Masekela - SowetanLIVE Sunday Wolrd


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News of veteran musician Hugh Masekela's death has sent shockwaves through the nation on Tuesday morning. Masekela who was fondly referred to as Bra Hugh died after a nine-year battle with prostate cancer. Bra Hugh‚ who was 75-years-old was surrounded ...
Jazz musician Hugh Masekela dies at 78 the Irish News

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Grief-stricken daughter releases graphic images of her dad's fatal ... - Mirror.co.uk


Mirror.co.uk

Grief-stricken daughter releases graphic images of her dad's fatal ...
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WARNING DISTRESSING CONTENT: Kirsty Taylor, 23, was dealt a second blow when her dad's attacker, Neil Hotchkiss, was jailed for just two years over the death.

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ThunderNotes: Carmelo Anthony not giving LeBron James grief for win - Norman Transcript


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ThunderNotes: Carmelo Anthony not giving LeBron James grief for win
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Carmelo Anthony has been friends with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James since the two were teenagers. It's exactly why Anthony is over the postgame jeering, even after.

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