Unity to host workshop on coping with grief

Loss and grief are inevitable parts of our lives. How do we grieve the many forms of loss that life brings to us? Is there a right or a wrong way to grieve?

Tears are a common form of expression understood across cultures, particularly when a death occurs. For men, it is still somewhat unacceptable; a quick tear or two seems okay, but not outright sobbing.

Is there a correct length of time to express your grief? Wearing "widow's weeds" is a term for a mourning custom where the woman donned heavy, concealing, black clothing, and veils. Even today, in some countries such as Italy, Greece and Portugal, widows will wear black for the rest of their lives.

A social worker from The Gathering Place in Westlake shared with me a very simple, and understandable reason for grief. After the death of my mom, I sat with her for a couple of sessions, and one of the things I remember most from our meetings were five simple words: "We grieve because we love."

To give us greater insight into grieving, Reverend Therese Lee will be coming to Unity Spiritual Center of Westlake, 23855 Detroit Road, on Sunday, July 31, for an afternoon workshop on grief. A topic that many people find difficult to speak about, Unity Minister Rev. Lee shares how she is making her way through the grief process after the unexpected death of her husband, Reverend Dr. Tom Lee, four years ago.

She invites us to journey with her to "Walking Alongside Our Grief" just as she has been doing. Her workshop will look at healing as the ability to return to living again, and that grief comes with the intensity of many deep emotions that one must learn to cope with. She will also be the guest speaker at the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday services on July 31.

Though psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross is well known for her work developing a model of grief with five stages, it is rarely as precise, neat or linear as she suggests. The stages of denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance can be jumbled together, or one of the emotions felt much stronger and longer than others. Some people may never move out of one of the emotions, and remain stuck there.

It is important to realize no one's grief is a carbon copy of another's, but it also important to express the emotions of grief to be able to release them.

"We often don’t know what to do when a friend, or loved one is experiencing grief," said From Rev. Joanne Rowden of Unity Westlake. "It typically makes us feel uncomfortable, and so we want our loved one to get beyond it. We often are afraid to speak about the grief because we don’t know what to say, or what will be helpful. More often than not, the one experiencing grief does not need you to fix anything, what they need is a listening ear, a compassionate shoulder to cry on, or someone to just sit in the silence with them."

We have all heard it said that time heals all wounds, but Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy did not agree. She said, "The wounds remain. In time, the mind protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone." It's true, we grieve because we love.

Sharon Fedor

 I enjoy writing about USC's events. Everyone is welcome at Sunday services, or at our numerous classes, and worshops!

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Volume 8, Issue 14, Posted 9:45 AM, 07.19.2016