Title: University of Florida Counseling Center leaflets
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00074637/00008
 Material Information
Title: University of Florida Counseling Center leaflets
Series Title: Coping with loss
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida Counseling Center
Affiliation: University of Florida -- Division of Student Affairs -- University of Florida Counseling Center
Publisher: Counseling Center, Division of Student Affairs, University of Florida
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00074637
Volume ID: VID00008
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

Full Text


Counseling Center
301 Peabody Hall

Educating eaaersfor a lfobalWCommunity


In the course of our lifetime, each of us develops relationships with others which take on special
meaning to us. They may be parents, other family members, friends, teachers, even our pets.
These are the people who in a variety of ways through nurturing and challenging us help us become
who we are. Over the course of our life, each of us also experiences the death of someone we love.
Whether this loss occurs as a result of illness, accident, or other trauma, we are left with a mixture
of thoughts and feelings. We deeply sense their absence. The following suggestions are offered to
assist us in understanding the constructive process of grief and the importance of remembering our
loved one.

* It is important to accept yourself
Grief is a natural and universal experience.
Each of us, however, experiences loss in
ways which are characteristic to our
upbringing and personalities. While
common elements exist in the bereavement
process, there are no fixed formulas or
schedules to which we must conform.
Accepting yourself is an important step
toward a healthy grief process.

* Your feelings are normal
Following the loss of a loved one, a range of
emotions may be experienced. These
feelings include sadness, fear, despair,
confusion, anger, guilt, and even a sense of
numbness. These emotions may be felt in
varying degrees of intensity and over
differing periods of time. Our daily living
patterns may trigger memories of our loss
and associated feelings. Family
celebrations, holidays, favorite places,
songs, and experiences which were formerly
shared with the loved one may remind us of
our suffering. In the midst of our grieving,
it is normal for us to wonder if our sorrow
will ever subside. In time the memories of
our loved one will remain, but the intensity
of our strongest emotions is moderated.
Even so, it is important to remember that
over the years we do not forget the person.
It may be helpful to think of your
bereavement as a cycle in which periodically
you are reminded of the loss and associated

* Your daily routine may change
Following the death of a significant other, a
person may feel quite different. You may be
physically fatigued, have difficulty with your
usual sleep pattern, experience an inability
to concentrate for long periods, and lose
some of your normal appetite. You may
also find that your interest in work, social
activities, and being with others diminishes
somewhat. Activities and people you
usually enjoy may seem to hold less
attraction. During this period, some
persons increase their involvement in work
related and social activities in order to
preoccupy their mind and energy and avoid
some of the uncomfortable feelings
associated with loss.

However a person chooses to adapt, it is
important to value and maintain connections
with others and engage in a healthy balance
through work, leisure, and rest. Plan to
participate in some form of relaxation and a
physical activity like walking, perhaps in the
company of another person. If significant
changes which affect your ability to function
on a daily basis persist, this may be a cue to
see a professional for consultation and
specialized assistance.


+ Be kind to yourself
Try to establish reasonable expectations
about your ability and energy to meet
current responsibilities. Guard against
taking on new projects too soon.
Remember that bereavement with its
differing levels of intensity is a natural and
essential process for remembering the loved

* Create ways of remembering your
loved one
Rituals can help us recall the positive
dimensions of our relationship and connect
us with community. Activities like journal
writing, meditation, prayer, walking,
singing, and visiting places formerly shared
with the loved one can be creative outlets
for your thoughts and feelings. They may
also help remind us of the value of life itself.

< Center yourself spiritually

Remind yourself of goals you have set for
yourself. Remember the ways your loved
one contributed to helping you develop and
achieve your potentials. Imagine a future
purpose for yourself and ways you wish to
contribute to others. Seek to remind
yourself in a variety of ways that your life
has meaning. If you practice a religion,
utilize its symbols, activities, and
community to comfort and provide

* Envision a hopeful future
Share your thoughts and feelings with
others. Allow them to be with you during
this very important part of life. Try to
remain physically active and sensitive to the
beauty of life around you. Imagine there
can be meaning to your future. Envision the
love you felt for the person you lost will
survive as a foundation for a creative future.


Communicate your concern for the other
... Initiate conversation, listen, and be
willing to talk about the loss

Be available
... Let the person know that you are
available, if needed

Avoid making judgments about how a
person should be feeling during their grief
... People express their thoughts and
emotions in a variety of ways, with
differing levels of intensity and

Acknowledge the difficulties in having easy
answers to the hard questions about life
and death
... Affirm the appropriateness of questions
and encourage conversation

Remember the importance of anniversaries,
celebrations, and activities in which the
loved one formerly participated
... Be sensitive to the memories special
occasions and activities hold for the

Reaffirm the value in your relationship
... Be mindful of the importance in various
types of relationships, e.g., friend, class
mate, family member, neighbor,
colleague, partner, or intimate

Be sensitive to the cyclic nature of the grief
... Be patient. Remember that grief can
appear to come and go for no apparent
reason. There is no fixed time in which
the bereavement process is to be over



University of Florida
Counseling Center................. 392-1575

Student Mental Health Services at
Student Health Care Center .... 392-1171

Dean of Students Office.............. 392-1261

Campus Ministries Cooperative
Contact Student Services........ 392-1261

University of Florida Employee
Assistance Program................. 392-5787


Alachua County Crisis
Center................................... 264-6789

Hospice of North Central
Florida.................................. 378-2121

Wayne D. Griffin, Ph.D., Author
Jaquelyn Liss Resnick, Ph.D., Series Editor
Published by
University of Florida Counseling Center
301 Peabody Hall
(352) 392-1575

For students with disabilities, this publication is available in
alternate formats. Please contact the Counseling Center at
392-1575. Students with hearing or speech impairments,
please call the Florida Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 955-
8771 (TDD).

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