Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Types of Grief Supported by Friends Along the Road

Friends Along the Road is an experiment in providing support for those in grief from most every cause. In this regard, it is different from most organizations that support the bereaved, because they tend to focus on one or just a few specific causes of grief, such as death of a child, death of a pet, divorce, and so forth. But it is my belief that FAR support-groups can be especially effective by providing support for grief from many causes. The results have been amazing: we have found that often, someone grieving from one cause will come to the aid of someone grieving from a completely different type of loss, and form a helpful bond. Also, FAR does not play the game of ranking the intensity or primacy or importance of the causes of grief. How could we? No one can know what is in the heart of another, or has the right to say how anyone else should experience their grief, no matter what the cause.

Here is a list of the types of grief supported by Friends Along the Road, in our private online and in-person groups:

Grief over the deaths of family members or friends, including pets and service or farm animals; stillborn children; the grief of animals for other animals, including human animals; divorce or separation; loss of custody of children; terminal or severe illness of oneself, family, or friends; loss of memory and/or former abilities and skills; job loss; homelessness; physical and mental abuse; rape; incest; torture; stress from being a soldier; stress from being in prison; bullying, mobbing, or harassment, either committed physically or via phone, letters, or online, in the workplace, school, or anywhere; victims of human trafficking; loss of sense of self; loss of innocence/childhood; inability to physically meet with loved ones who are still alive, such as when custody issues, distance, lack of funds to travel, deportation to another country, and prison prevent it; sexual dysfunction; unwarranted shame; general depression; the loss of relationship to addictive substances (addicts have reported such relationships as being the most dependable of their lives, and often grieve when they are ended). Another significant reason for experiencing grief is from finding out about multiple deaths of both humans and animals, as from war, mass murder, and natural disasters. When death happens on a large scale, it can be so overwhelming that it is difficult to process. The Japanese tsunami is one of the most powerful example I can think of. Also, the loss of our natural world and habitats from pollution, war, overpopulation, mysterious animal and plant deaths, and other causes is a valid reason for experiencing grief; the Gulf Oil Spill comes to mind. The feeling of helplessness associated with such incidents tends to accompany the grief over the initial loss of life and habitat, and can lead to dissociation, and later, shock at one's own dissociation and that of most everyone alive - that almost everyone, everywhere, to varying degrees, is dissociating from the dire situation of the world in order to mentally get through each day. A sense of helplessness to effect positive change in class-based economic and political systems can also lead to dissociation and depression, and grief. I am sure this list can be expended. Please send me your suggestions.

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