"Grief is like a suitcase lying at the foot of your bed and when you wake up and take it with you in the morning sometimes it is too heavy to carry, and other times it is as light as a feather...That is what is known as getting through the day."
This was a line from the ABC network premier of "The Wispers", a TV special that I watched with my wife this evening. We agreed that it was a profound statement in an otherwise ho hum production.
Bereavement is an inevitable part of life and learning how to cope with loss is therefore an important life skill for young people and adults alike. Worden's theory of bereavement processing, outlines three tasks that must be accomplished in order to adapt to the loss: 1) acceptance; working through the pain of grief; 2) adjusting to the new environment without the deceased and, lastly, 3) forming a new and appropriate bond with the deceased that allows the bereaved to move on and reinvest their emotions.
Incomplete grief tasks can cause complicated or unresolved grief (Shear and Shair, 2005) which occurs when normal grief symptoms become acute and persistent and interfere with day to day functioning. Complicated grief can result in physical symptoms and is linked to higher levels of suicidal ideation, increased risk of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Indeed, grief is a heavy suitcase to carry, but CARRY IT WE MUST! It is HOW we carry it that matters.