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Grief is a Natural and Necessary Process
Dispelling Common Myths of Grief
By Diana M. Hardy, MSCP, NCC, LPC

Diana M. Hardy, MSCP, NCC, LPCEach of us will experience grief at some time in our lives - most likely, multiple times. While it is a universal experience, it is also a unique one. In order to heal we need to internally experience the thoughts and emotions of grief, while outwardly expressing them through mourning. Grief is not a mental illness; it is a natural and necessary process to express feelings, physical sensations, cognitions, and behaviors.

The process is not linear; it is chaotic like an emotional roller coaster. One does not know when the reactions and additional symptoms of grief will surface. Expressions of grief come and go, usually in a random fashion.

People do not "get over" the death of someone. The goal is to adapt the loss into our lives and to reach reconciliation. There is no timeline; grief will take as long as it takes.

Ignoring the affects of grief can delay or prolong the process. In order to heal we need to embrace our grief by moving towards mourning, not away from it through denial or repressing our feelings.

If one does not take the time and effort to mourn, the grief will not go away. Time alone does not heal grief.

There is no specific process, no healing formula, and no right way to manage grief. However, there are healthy ways to cope. At the Good Grief Center, we are dedicated to assisting people navigate through these especially difficult times while promoting healthy coping.

Diana M. Hardy is Director, Good Grief Center for Bereavement Support. For more information, (412) 224-4700 or visit www.goodgriefcenter.com. The Good Grief Center is a service of Ursuline Senior Services.

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