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Grief Masks


October makes me think of Halloween, and Halloween makes me think of masks, and masks remind me that sometimes when we're grieving, we wear masks without even realizing it. We may never stop to think about how other people perceive our appearances, our images and our behaviors. Over time, we may gradually drift into a pattern of "being" that is so familiar to us we never realize that others might be seeing us in a totally different way.

Our pain may have caused us to have an outwardly distorted appearance, even when inwardly we may actually feel we are reconciling to our losses. Some people appear to be continually anger and bitter, when in fact it is only a reflection of their sadness. Even though their inward hostilities have begun to soften and resolve, on the outside they have kept their protective masks of fierceness. In reality, they are starved for love and companionship, but they are afraid to let their true feelings show. What if they were ridiculed, violated or abandoned and therefore hurt anew?

On the other hand, there are those who have adopted a perpetually "sunny" countenance that covers an internal sorrow. Their hearts and minds and faith may be splintered, but they are determined that the people around them will never guess their secret. They may believe that showing sorrow is a weakness that will drive away the people they think they need.

It would appear that masks are psychological props that seem to protect us from something we fear. For some people, self disclosure is as repulsive as public nudity! It seems safer for mask-wearers to endure the lack of support and attention they so sorely need rather than to honestly reveal their innermost feelings.

I wonder what would happen if we all let down our guards and allowed our families, friends, neighbors and co-workers to discover our real pain. Would our revelations really make us any more weak or vulnerable? Would we really be at any more emotional risk? Could we be hurt any more than we've already been?

Naturally, if we take the chance of disclosing our true selves, revealing where we are weak or frightened or hurt, there is always the possibility that we might become prey for the predators. The vultures seem always to be circling. But there is also the chance that we will provide an opportunity for the intelligent, strong and compassionate of our peers to offer their support. Where there is evil, there is also good. Where there is pain, there is also healing. Nature teaches us that in life, there is balance.

Precisely because we have suffered the ultimate wound-the death of one who was truly loved-perhaps eventually we can afford to take more risks. It's a tough issue: Dare we risk the pain of being hurt again if we disclose? Or have we become strong enough and brave enough to take a chance on the rediscovery of love and the richness of new attachments? Is it true that what does not kill us makes us stronger?

Perhaps it becomes a question of giving ourselves enough time to form scar tissue. We may need to proceed cautiously, taking baby-step risks at first, trusting our most private thoughts, feelings and needs to only one or two close and dependable friends. We may need to test the formation of delicate new bondings-even in old relationships!

Gradually, we may be able to uncover enough of our hidden courage to feel safe in abandoning our protective masks and revealing our true feelings-not only to the world at large, but more importantly, to ourselves.

Good Grief Resources (http://www.goodgriefresources.com) was conceived and founded by Andrea Gambill whose 17-year-old daughter died in 1976. Almost thirty years of experience in leading grief support gropus, writing, editing, and founding a national grief-support magazine has provided valuable insights into the unique needs of the bereaved and their caregivers and wide access to many excellent resources. The primary goal of Good Grief Resources is to connect the bereaved and their caregivers with as many bereavement support resources as possible in one, efficient and easy-to-use website directory.


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


9Honey

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


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


The News Herald

Angels Across the USA to offer grief support
The News Herald
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?
Minnesota Public Radio News
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


SowetanLIVE Sunday Wolrd

Tributes pour in for Bra Hugh Masekela
SowetanLIVE Sunday Wolrd
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 ...
Mirror.co.uk
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


Norman Transcript

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