All of us must face the reality of death at some point in our lives - the reality of being separated from a cherished loved one. 

It is uncomfortable for many people to think about death and contemplate its eventuality. Yet only then can we come to fully understand the value and meaning of our own lives and of those around us. Only then can we begin to live our lives to the fullest. 

Every death changes the lives of those close to the deceased person. The ability to change and adapt to changes around you is the key to accepting and dealing with death. As in other aspects of our lives, the more we resist and fight against inevitable changes, the more pain we experience and the more unhappy we become. 

In experiencing grief we may go through a full range of sometimes contradictory emotions such as denial, anger, sorrow, guilt, and relief. We may even fluctuate from feeling stable to being deeply depressed. Ultimately, we must arrive at acceptance, the last stage of the process. We know we have achieved this stage when we can see the life of our loved one as a fond memory instead of dwelling on the person's death as a harsh reality. Only then can we go on living our own lives again. Carlson Funeral Homes offers an aftercare program available to help families deal with grief and the loss of a loved one. A Carlson Funeral Home representative will be in touch with you after the funeral service.

Dealing with Grief

According to research there are generally 10 stages in the grieving process. If you are grieving and you are experiencing any of these symptoms, realize that they are quite normal and in many ways a necessary part of the process. 

1. Shock and surprise. News of someone's death is almost always a shock. The reality of the death may occur in a few minutes or a few days. 

2. Emotional release. The release of tension and feelings is necessary and usually occurs at the funeral or with family and friends, but it is only the beginning of the grieving process. 

3. Loneliness. After the funeral, when family and friends have gone home, feelings of emptiness may occur. Feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression begin. 

4. Physical distress and anxiety. This stage can make the person feel so alone that he or she may develop the same physical symptoms that the deceased had. 

5. Panic. It may become difficult to concentrate on anything because of constant memories of the deceased. In fact, this may cause a person to worry about his or her own stability. Not knowing what to do or what is happening can result in panic and weakened self-esteem. 

6. Guilt. The surviving person dwells on the things he or she could have done for the deceased. They may also feel responsible for the person's death. 

7. Hostility and projection. This is a difficult stage for relatives and friends because the survivor suddenly becomes hostile to those whom he or she thinks could have prevented the death. Family and friends should try to be tolerant and non-defensive. 

8. Lassitude. The person suffers in silence, weary from the depression and frustration. Becoming more active is the answer. 

9. Gradual overcoming of grief. Through the affection and encouragement of friends and family, gradually a new meaninng of life unfolds. The person's outlook becomes brighter and more realistic. 

10. Readjustment to reality. Recalling the deceased becomes a pleasant experience and planning for the future becomes more realistic.

Basic Needs of the Bereaved

1. Companionship and privacy - a balance between the two. They need time to reflect on their feelings as well as time to share their feelings.

2. Opportunity for the expression of grief without embarrassment. A comfortable environment is needed where the bereaved can open up and express their feelings.

3. Recognition of the many symptoms that may occur as a result of intense grieving. These symptoms often resemble physical changes that occur during or after a serious illness and may include...

• loss of sleep

• loss of appetite

• loss of strength

• loss of motivation

• inconsistencies in behavior

4. Support and assistance in becoming socially reactivated. They need someone upon whom they can depend and trust to help them in a variety of social situations.

5. A firm focus placed on the crisis/loss without being made to feel that they have a physical or mental illness.

6. Special assistance regarding business affairs and legal matters. They need someone to help them think clearly to settle important issues and plan for the future.

7. Above all, they need the opportunity to re-tell their experience of loss. An active listener can dramatically facilitate the healing process. Be patient, and non-judgmental. Help them discover their own conclusions to the issues they need to resolve.

Support Group

A grief support group can give you great benefits: A safe place to share thoughts and feelings, a chance to share and connect with others who are also adjusting to the death of a loved one, reassurance that grief is normal, that you are not alone, and that there is hope, and encouragement from others. We hope the following list of support groups and organizations will be helpful to you and your family as you work through the grieving process. If we may be of assistance to you or your family in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us

American Association of Retired Persons: The AARP has a widowed person’s service. A non-profit, non-denominational program serving the newly widowed of any age. 
National Headquarters 
1909 K Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20049 

The Candlelighters: Peer support for parents of young children with cancer. 
2025 I Street, N.W. 
Washington, D.C. 20006 
(800) 366-2223 or (202) 659-5136 

The Compassionate Friends: Peer support for bereaved parents. 
P.O. Box 1347 
Oak Brook, IL 60521 
(708) 990-0010 

The Displaced Homemaker’s Network 
1010 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 817 
Washington, D.C. 20005 

National Hospice Organization: Non-profit, community based organization of volunteers, lay persons, and professionals who provide specialized health care to the terminally ill. 
1901 North Moore Street, Suite 901 
Arlington, VA 22209 
(703) 243-5900 
(800) 658-8898 Hot Line 

National Sudden Infant Death: Support for parents who have lost children. 
Foundation to SIDS (crib death). 
10500 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 420 
Columbia, MD 21044 
(800) 221-SIDS 

Parents with Partners: A non-sectarian organization with over 700 chapters, all concerned with the welfare of single parents and their children. 
P.O. Box 700 
Clinton, MD 20795 
(202) 638-1320 

The Robertson Bereavement Center has a variety of support groups available. Support groups are offered at no charge and are open to the public, regardless of whether an individual has previous association with Hospice of Medina County. Please call for more information. Beth A. McGuire, Director of Bereavement Services. 1-800-700-4771 or 330-725-1900. 

St. Ambrose Bereavement Ministry: Meets the first Wednesday of each month during the summer and every other first Wednesday of each month during the fall months, at 7:00 p.m. at Lainer Center (behind St. Ambrose School, 929 Pearl Road, Brunswick). No registration required. Call for schedule 330-225-3116. 

Holy Martyrs Catholic Church: Meets every Tuesday for seven weeks at 7:30 p.m. in gathering area or choir room at the Church, 3100 Weymouth Road, Medina. No registration required. Call for schedule 330-722-6633. 

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church: Call for scheduling dates and times. 330-725-4968. 

St. Martins of Tours Catholic Church: Call for scheduling dates and times. 330-483-3808. 

Grace Baptist Church: Meets the last Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Church, 3289 Laurel Road, Brunswick. No registration required. 330-225-4366. 

Brunswick Reformed Church: A 13-week session held the last Wednesday of the month at the church, 3535 Grafton Road, Brunswick. Call for scheduling dates and times 330-225-5475. No registration required. 

The Phoenix Center for grieving children: The Phoenix Center provides counseling, support, education, and resources for grieving children, adolescents, and the adults in their lives. We recommend that you call to register for programs as early as possible. Services are provided regardless of ability to pay. 
Unless otherwise indicated, all programs are held at the Phoenix Center in the Ireland Cancer Center at Community Health Partners located at 41201 Schaden Road in Elyria. 
For more information or to register for any of the programs, please call 440-324-0480. 

Shared Grief is a collaboration of bereavement care professionals who are committed to providing quality bereavement services to the greater Cleveland community. Free and open to any adult who has lost a loved one. Available daytime and evenings, 1 ½ hours each week for 7 consecutive weeks. Registration is simple. Locate the group closest to you and call the number provided. You will be asked a few simple questions and registered over the phone. Please register early as space is limited. 

Parma Public Library 
7335 Ridge Road, Parma. Call Shawna Renninger to register. 216-520-0765 

Parma Senior Center
7001 W. Ridgewood Drive, Parma. Call Ted Bell to register. 440-743-4295 

Parma Community General Hospital
7007 Powers Blvd., Parma. Call Vicki Milnark to register. 440-743-4924 

Westlake Senior Center
29694 Center Ridge Road, Westlake. Call Bonni Becka to register. 216-749-7450 

Brooklyn Senior Center
7727 Memphis Avenue, Brooklyn. Call Jim Mallory to register. 440-899-7659 

Harbinger Hospice
1119 Bassett Rd., Westlake. Call Anne Weithman to register. 440-899-7659 

Odyssey Healthcare
6140 Parkland Blvd., Suite 105. Call Pam Mignona to register. 440-995-1740. 

Cleveland/University Hts. Library
13866 Cedar Rd., University Hts. Call Carol Steiner to register. 216-694-6327 

Hospice & Palliative Care Partners of Ohio (VNA)

2500 E. 22nd Street, Cleveland. Call Patty O’Shea to register. 216-694-6214