The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Community

March 24, 2014

Coping with the unthinkable

ANDERSON — Each week Andrea Rich-Duckworth helps people to cope with death.

A licensed clinical social worker and grief specialist, Rich-Duckworth said it is important to recognize people have unique experiences with grief and loss.

"Grief can be as messy as life is," Rich-Duckworth said. “I often hear people say they feel like they are going crazy and our society encourages us to move on and get over it. People need to be kind and gentle and allow people to acknowledge and express themselves.

“When you lose someone you have to redefine your life – you are not ever going to get over it.”

Every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Rich-Duckworth facilitates a grief support group that is free and open to the public. The group evolved through the Robert D. Loose Funeral Home, and the meetings take place at the funeral home’s carriage, 200 W. 53rd St.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Robert Loose. “In fact we serve not only the families we have taken care of but people from other funeral homes. People find it helpful and they can stay as long as they want to. This is just another we try to help people.”

In a recent study, social scientists have taken a closer look at grieving and loss thanks in part to an unprecedented number of baby boomers who are outliving a spouse. According to the study, 40 percent of women and 13 percent of men who are 65 and older are widowed.

The study revealed people do not necessarily grieve in stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance as once thought. Instead, researchers say people move back and forth between these stages on an individual basis until a level of emotional adjustment to the loss of a loved one is reached.

According to researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, some people may experience complicated grief. This type of grief is also called traumatic grief or pathological grief, and it prevents people from accepting the death of a loved one.

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