|Griever's Bill of Rights Poster-created by Brittany Bilyeu of RefugreinGrief.com|
And that's okay.
Today, we wanted to share with all of you Dr. Alan Wolfelt's Grieving Person's Bill of Rights, as a way to help those who grieve to know what their rights are. But also, so that other family members and friends of someone who is grieving, can understand as well.
1 You have the right to experience your own unique grief.
No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, do not allow them to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.
2. You have the right to talk about your grief.
Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief.
3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions.
Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Don't take these judgemental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without conditions.
4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits.
Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don't allow others to push you into doing things you don't feel ready to do.
5. You have the right to experience grief "attacks."
Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.
6. You have the right to make use of ritual.
The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you that rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, don't listen.
7. You have the right to search for meaning.
You may find yourself asking, "Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for cliched responses. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think of what you have to be thankful for" are not helpful and you do not have to accept them.
8. You have the right to treasure your memories.
Memories are one of the best legacies you can have after the death of someone loved. Instead of ignoring your memories, find others with whom you can share them.
9. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal.
Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.