Hammer is a unique company that supports their employees’ passions, and I’ve been privileged to take advantage of that support. Let me explain. My name is Maggie Bauer. Along with being the assistant Program Manager in one of Hammer’s apartment programs I am also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist® and run my own business teaching educational classes about grief. I was invited to speak at the last Hammer all staff meeting to 100+ people about the challenging topic of grief in our society, as caretakers and with the population of developmental delayed adults we support. The main points I touched on in my presentation were how working in this field gives caretakers a gained knowledge and understanding about grief, as well as taking a look at grief in our society and how it applies to us as individuals. I’ve also been invited to speak at the upcoming Family Ed Forum this week in order to help family members connect about the many life experiences that equal grief and loss in so many ways.
Grief is such a small word that packs a big punch. Grief is one of the few things that will affect every single living person throughout their life. Guaranteed!
Here are a few definitions of grief provided by the Grief Recovery Method®:
Grief is a normal and natural reaction to significant emotional loss of any kind.
Grief is the conflicting feeling caused by the end of, or changing in, a familiar pattern of behavior.
Grief is as individual and unique as you are yet there are some typical responses people have when dealing with grief like: reduced concentration, a sense of numbness, disrupted sleep patterns, change in eating habits and a rollercoaster of emotions.
I invite you to take a look at how our Western culture has addressed grief. As a society we’ve all been taught in some capacity how to handle if someone injures themselves in front of us – we would call for help and do our best to comfort the injured person. Society has also taught us what to do if we get a flat tire on our car. One option is to change the tire yourself, or to call someone who can help you. So who do we turn to that will help us when a life event causes a broken heart producing grief? For the most part society has taught us some unhelpful myths about grief.
6 grief myths are:
- Time heals all wounds.
- Grieve Alone.
- Be Strong.
- Don’t feel bad.
- Keep Busy.
- Replace the loss.
These myths can be harmful because they don’t facilitate a sense of completion to the relationship that just ended. It’s possible these myths distract us from healthy grieving.
How can we all support someone during their time of grief? Be a big heart with ears. No matter if it’s your family member, a friend or coworker; listen empathetically to them and don’t judge, criticize or analyze their grief. Listen with your heart and allow the emotions to be expressed.