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~ General Information on Loss, Change & Grief~
The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss�that is all.
It will take mind and memory months and possibly years
to gather all the details
and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss.
Mark Twain

When a person is faced with a loss, crisis or life-changing event he/she is suddenly thrust into a new world, a world that is unfamiliar, one that can seem very daunting and at times frightening. It is a world of intense, unsettling at at times conflicting feelings of loss, anger, depression, loneliness, fear, frustration, and desperation. Each person's experience of loss will have subtle nuances that will make it unlike any other loss, but what is common to all grief responses are the intense, heart-centered emotions that others will have also felt, endured and survived.

Without applying or asking to join, this person suddenly becomes a member of a very exclusive club�The Grief Club. This is a club that people do not choose to join, rather it is a club into which their grief has given them entrance. There is a common �language� spoken by the members of this club, one that can often be understood without words. Many times all that is required to let someone know you have been there and that you understand their grief is just a understanding look, a gentle touch on the arm, a reassuring hug or a heart-felt note. The motto for this Journey of Grief Club is "Cry, Remember, and Live Again." Also depicted within the coat of arms are the steps in the transformational process following a loss, going from loss (tear) through transition (purple heart) to reach healing (fuschia heart) and the butterfly to symbolize the life-altering change the occurs following a loss.

Coat of Arms

The Journey of Grief following a loss, a crisis or a significant life change is a very personal and often a very private one. Each person travels on his or her own unique Journey of Grief in experiencing the loss. As the grieving person recognizes that others have lived through loss and emerged intact he/she will begin to realize that he/she can survive their own loss.
When we are feeling as if there is no way out, nothing to look forward to,
and we're anticipating only days and days of emotional agony ahead of us,
we need to recognize that we are not alone.
There are many others who have been through grief and are now living their lives and functioning as capable, loving people in the world.
We will join them one day...and will, in the future,
live a life that is not governed by wrenching emotion.
Carol Staudacher

Gaining Knowledge to Regain Control
As with any new situation the person facing any major change will begin asking questions to try and make some sense out of what is often the insensible and find out more information. What is a Loss? What is Grief? What is a Significant Life Change? What can I do about Losses? How Long will I Grieve? What are the Complications of Grief? What are Some of the Common Myths about Grief? These are just some of the questions addressed at the end the General Information Section.

One of the best ways to understand the grief response is through education. Gaining knowledge can help to return a sense of control over seemingly random occurances, e.g. new medical diagnosis, a sudden, unexpected loss or death, or a change in life circumstances. Understanding a situation, a condition, a new diagnosis or a disease allows the grieving person to assume control over his/her life and provides a sense of peace from knowing what is going on, or what to expect, rather than continuing to fear the unknown. Knowledge can return a sense of control over seemingly random occurances and aid the grieving in accepting the life change and beginning the transition to a new life.

For More Information
We have complied a variety of information and links to additional resources for those who are interested in learning more about the "normal" grief response and helping or the grieving adult. (For information on the Complications of Grief, see the separate section.) Some of the resources are new articles, others are links to information from the original version of Journey of Hearts.� Fortunately, much of the information on grief and loss is timeless so the main content on grief and loss created for the original version of the site is still accurate, informative and relevant.

When an emotional injury takes place, the body begins a process
as natural as the healing of a physical wound.
Let the process happen.
Trust that nature will do the healing.
Know that the pain will pass, and, when it passes,
You will be stronger, happier, more sensitive and aware.
Mel Colgrove
See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update Sept. 11, 2002