Amy Colver, LCSW
Melody Griffith, MSW, LMSW, OSW-C
AOSW Communications Director
Jeanice Hansen, LCSW, OSW-C
To submit a story or information for inclusion in a future issue of AOSW Newsletter, contact Amy Colver or Melody Griffith on the list above.
Video Review: Changed Forever – Grieving the Death of Someone You Love
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler taught:
You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to. (Kessler).
This quote provides a premise to the video “Changed Forever.” In the video, three women share their stories about the loss of a loved one and the grief that accompanies that loss. A Chaplain and two Licensed Clinical Social Workers join the women in sharing their insight on how grief affects every facet of our lives, provide an explanation of the grieving process, and make it clear that life can and does go on after loss.
The stories shared by the three women demonstrate that there are many different types of loss. For two of the three, it was the loss of a spouse; for the other it was the loss of her daughter. Loss and grief are not respecters of person, age, circumstance or experience. Through these stories, mixed with dialogue from professionals, the viewer is taken on a journey through loss, sadness, acceptance and hope. Grief is normalized but not minimized.
The women share their stories with honesty, with no sugarcoating of their experiences. They explain that grief is a completely individual experience with no time frame or expectations. Even within families, grief may be experienced in completely different ways, differing in severity and in time. Those faced with a loss will best face their grief if they learn that the way they are grieving is unique to them and that they can adjust to going on with life. “[…] we no longer consider the ‘phases of grief’ to be a very useful concept. Perhaps its greatest value has been to draw attention to the fact that grief is a process through which people pass […]” (Parkes & Prigerson, 2010, p. 8).
Several metaphors are used to describe grief and the grieving process. Grief is a spiral staircase. Throughout your life you are continually going up the staircase, only to realize at certain points you may feel that you are in the same place with your grief as you were in the past. This is where the staircase overlaps—but remember that it is not the same place; you are actually higher on the stairs than you were before. However you are still revisiting the pain and emotional distress caused by your loss. “[…] people can move back and forth through the states [of grief] so that, years after bereavement, the discovery of a photograph in a drawer or a visit from an old friend can evoke another episode of pining” (Parkes & Prigerson, 2010, p. 7).
The video demonstrates that the acuity of grief may evolve through the years following the loss of a loved one. Parkes & Prigerson (2010) state:
Although there is a tendency for the features of grief to diminish over time, the symptoms of grief do not all appear from day one and then fade away, there is a pattern to the process of grieving. It involves a succession of clinical pictures, which blend into and replace one another, and which vary greatly from one person to another, one family to another and even one culture to another (p. 7).
Overall, this video is a well thought-out presentation on grief due to the loss of a loved one. The various aspects of grief are effectively addressed and the subject matter is sensitive to the idea that grief affects people differently throughout their lives. The video ends with a promise of hope through allowing oneself to acknowledge grief and work through it to find a way to live with and beyond grief.
Kessler, D. (n.d.). Retrieved October 21, 2015, from http://grief.com/
Parkes, C., & Prigerson, H. (2010). Bereavement Studies of Grief in Adult Life (4th ed., pp. 7-8). New York: Routledge.