Grief the Unspoken is petitioning President Obama to have
August 30, 2014 declared as National Grief Awareness Day. http://www.change.org/petitions/president-of-the-united-states-we-are-asking-for-the-opportunity-to-have-national-grief-awareness-day-on-august-30th-to-be-a-day-of-awareness-and-education For those who have not experienced the death
of a loved one it may appear that grief awareness is unneeded. You may have
family, friends, or coworkers who had a loved one die recently. To your eyes
they look as if they are coping well with their grief. They could be coping well. More than likely
though they are grieving in silence and alone.
For many new grievers it comes as a shock that grieving has
a stigma associated with it. Some family and friends may come right out and say
it is time to get over it. When the deceased’s name is spoken it will not be
acknowledged in conversation. Invitations to family events and outings decline
until they stop all together. Sleepless
nights begin immediately. In the quiet of the house the weeping is smothered to
avoid waking other sleepers. Expectations of completing housework, performing
well at work, and maintaining relationships with others is the mask that is
worn every day. Feelings of loneliness, not being understood, and feeling less
than become constant companions. Mystery
illnesses plague the body. Aches, pain, fatigue bring the ability to cope with
the grief even lower. Loss of employment, loss of significant relationships
become a reality.
This is the reality of grief. Grief is not about denial,
anger, bargaining, depression and anxiety. These stages of grief have become
the accepted concept about the grief process despite the fact that Elizabeth
Kubler-Ross’s stages were developed when she worked with people who were dying
not grieving. Grief is the breakdown of
the emotional, physical, and psychological systems in response to the death of
a loved one.
This is why Grief Awareness is important. It is important to
educate society on the reality of grief. For doctors to understand grief
reactions include physical symptoms. For therapists to understand grief is not
time limited, and to allow healthy grieving reactions. For families and friends
to understand grief reactions interfere with relationships. If society would
become more compassionate towards people who are grieving there would be less
sleepless nights, more support, and healthier grieving.