In the past recover, resolution, or reorganization were terms used to describe the final dimension of grief. Most grief therapists are now seeing that the term reconciliation may represent better what the bereaved are trying to reach.
This is what reconciliation looks like in a bereaved person: ~ A recognition of the reality and finality of the death of the person who died. ~ A return to stable eating and sleeping patterns that were present prior to the death. ~ A renewed sense of energy and personal wellbeing. ~ A subjective sense of release or relief from the person who has died (they have thoughts of the person, but are not preoccupied). ~ The capacity to enjoy experiences in life that should normally be enjoyable. ~ The establishment of new and healthy relationships. ~ The capacity to live a full life without feelings of guilt or lack of self-respect. ~ The capacity to become comfortable with the way things are, rather than attempting to make things as they were. ~ The awareness that one has allowed one’s self to fully grieve. ~ The awareness that one does not “get over grief”, but instead is able to acknowledge: “This is my new reality and I am ultimately the one who must work to create new meaning and purpose in my life.” ~ The capacity to acknowledge new parts of one’s self that have been discovered in the growth through one’s grief. ~ The capacity to adjust to the new role changes that have resulted from the loss of the relationship. ~ The capacity to be compassionate with oneself when normal resurgences of intense grief occur. ~ The capacity to acknowledge that the pain of loss is an inherent part of life that results from the ability to give and receive love.
Excerpted from Suicide Bereavement Support, SW Washington and NW Oregon, June 2003
H.U.G.S. is a nonprofit community outreach program for those who have lost a family member or friend to suicide.