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Local experts share tips on National Grief Awareness Day

There is no expiration date on grief and experts say it's important for people to understand that they are not expected to "just get over it."
Posted at 5:03 PM, Aug 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-30 18:03:49-04

MILWAUKEE — Tuesday marks National Grief Awareness Day. There is no expiration date on grief and experts say it's important for people to understand that they are not expected to "just get over it."

Knowing and understanding grief is the first step to coping with it.

The pandemic has led to a series of losses and many people continue to reckon with the loss of loved ones, loss of business or employment, and even a change in their financial state. Despite it all, there is something we can do to help ourselves and each other.

"Reach out. Reach out in the way that you feel most comfortable whether that's a best friend, a counselor is preferable. Not to dull those emotions because there's really no way around grief," said Glenn Peters, Lead Therapist at Lutheran Counseling and Family Services of Wisconsin.

Carol Flanery, CEO of LCFS, explains that there are many causes to grief and it's experienced differently by every person.

"Grief can be the loss of a relationship, it can be the loss of a loved one, it can be the loss of a pet, the loss of a job. People often times experience grief with the loss of their health."

Many of us forget the cognitive, social, and philosophical difficulties that can come from losing something that we are attached to. In 1969, Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified the five most common stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

"It's not necessarily linear. Some days you wake up and you're just mad as all get out and the next day you don't feel like doing anything or getting out of bed, sometimes you feel all over the place," said Peters.

Also keeping in mind that grief is a normal part of coping with loss and there is no right or normal way to experience it.

"Actually feeling the pain is one of the best ways of getting through it and once you do that, you become a stronger person."

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