PRE-PLANNING ONE'S FINAL WISHES SPARES LOVED ONES FROM EMOTIONAL AND FINANCIAL BURDENS

If your death occurred today, would your loved one know how to arrange your funeral wishes and how you would like to be celebrated?

When death occurs there are numerous things that all need to be done quickly, such as:....


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SUPPORT GROUPS HELP FAMILIES HEAL WHEN SOMEONE DIES

Someone you love has died and you are now faced with the difficult, but important, need to mourn. According to Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D,   Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition “Mourning is the open expression of your thoughts and feelings regarding the death and the person who has died. It is an essential part of healing.”

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GRIEF THERAPY DOGS HELP REDUCE STRESS AND COMFORT HUMANS

Scientists have proven petting animals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure and even create a hormonal response that raises serotonin levels and helps fight depression.  For many years, therapy dogs have been on the scene where natural disasters or traumatic events have occurred. According to the American Kennel Club, a therapy dog goes with its owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals and nursing homes. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in....

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GRIEF TAKES TIME, ENERGY & EFFORT

Losing a loved one — either through unexpected or anticipated circumstances — is always traumatic. Whether the person who died was a spouse, child, parent, sibling or friend, the pain you may feel from this loss is real.


As a funeral director, I’ve noticed many of the individuals I help with funeral planning are very composed as they focus on memorializing their loved one. I’ve found the most difficult time for survivors is when the funeral service is over, out-of-town guests have traveled back home and it is time to resume day-to-day activities.


Transitioning through a world with a loved one actively involved in it to a world without that person can be extremely painful. The grief journey is often frightening and overwhelming and sometimes lonely. While there is no doubt it takes time for individuals to adjust to this new normal, here are a few tips for individuals who are faced with the loss of a loved one.


Give yourself permission to grieve.

The funeral may be over, but this doesn’t mean your sadness is gone. Grief takes time and it is important to give yourself time to experience it. Ignoring your grief by staying busy will only delay your need to experience the grief journey. It is very important for you to acknowledge the many emotions you may be feeling.

Be aware your emotions may be like a roller coaster.

Your emotions may range from shock and numbness to anger and pain. Grief does not proceed in an organized manner. Like life, it is a roller coast of many emotions.


Grief takes effort.

Grief is a natural and personal process. Time does help you heal, but it also takes a lot of effort. The work requires mental and physical energy. This means anyone traveling the grief journey is likely to become tired more often than normal.


It helps to talk about your grief.

Express your grief openly. When you share your grief, healing occurs and often makes you feel better. Speak from your heart with caring friends and relatives who will listen without judging.


Postpone big decisions.

At the time of a loss, it may be necessary to make decisions in order to resume your day-to-day activities. However, because you just experienced an emotional

event, it is probably best to postpone any major decisions to a later date when you have had time and you feel better able to make rational decisions.


Take care of yourself.

Because grief takes a physical toll on your body, make sure to drink plenty of water and get exercise and plenty of rest. You may not be able to go out and run a marathon, but your goal should be to do anything you are physically able to, even if it is just a 20-minute walk every day.


Grief is hard. If the task is too large for you to handle alone or even with the help of friends and family, make sure to enlist a professional counselor or seek the help of a grief support group. Milward Funeral Directors hosts a support group that meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6:15 p.m. for one hour from March through October. It is open to the public.


Remember to be kind and understanding to yourself. Know you are doing the best you can under the circumstances.

ANGIE WALTERS

Angie Walters has been a funeral director for five years. She recently joined Milward Funeral Directors, the 37th oldest continuously operated family business in the United States. Milward has three locations in Lexington, including its Celebration of Life Center at 1509 Trent Boulevard. Angie can be reached at Milward Funeral Directors-Broadway by calling

(859) 252-3411.

more articles by Angie Walters