Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interrupting the Grieving Process

When we suffer a loss, we grieve. That's how we work through it and get to the other side so we can keep going. Generally, this starts out with crying.

Most of us are uncomfortable with tears. Not our own, but other folk's. We can cry all we want, but if someone else is crying, we don't know what to do.

Enter Better Living Through Chemistry.

Why is it that our first reaction is to pass out an Ativan or Xanax when a resident is crying? Why can't we just let them cry? I'm not talking about crying that lasts for hours and hours. Then some chemical help is called for. But if a resident gets news that a relative has died, surely we can let them cry for a little bit. When I cry, I don't reach for a pill to help me stop. Most of the time I don't even reach for a beer. (I save that for when I'm angry. Just kidding. Sort of.)

We need to let them go through the whole grieving process, even the crying. Even if it makes us uncomfortable, a hand to hold will do as much or more than a pill and with less side effects. It's OK to cry. And it's OK to feel uncomfortable when someone else is crying. We don't need to interrupt the grieving process unless it's negatively affecting the residents health.

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