• The Effects of Media and Sensationalism on a Griever’s Heart

    Posted on April 24, 2012 by Cynthia Gossman in Coping With Grief.

    This morning I see on the front page of the MSN website – “Oscar Winner Breaks Down at Trial”.  The trial for the murderer of Jennifer Hudson’s family members has begun.  It’s been four years since the horrific incident.  Now on the stand, Jennifer Hudson has been asked questions that literally have taken her back to the day of this event, reliving the intensity of her grief all over again.  Do you think this has an effect on her grieving process?

    This is why I am writing this blog.   This is supporting data that proves you don’t ever get over it.  The pain erupts less frequently with time and you INTEGRATE LIFE, LOSS AND LOVE.

    In the above example a crime was committed it involved the public and it was sensationalized.  Most times when a loved one dies and it’s connection to the media and/or lawsuit, the family and friends left behind are put under a microscope and watched and left with little privacy and dignity at two periods of time, when the crime happened and then a few years later when the trial starts.

    In this case it was a trial that stirred up emotions.  But it emotions of loss and suffering get stirred up on an on-going basis for months and years to come with holidays, birthdays, graduations, weddings, funerals, births, vacation trips, anniversaries and much more.

    A social stigma has been placed on every griever: grief has a time limit and grief ends.  These two myths and misconceptions couldn’t be further from the truth.  Many people who know someone is grieving not only uneducated but unrealistic expectations as to when the griever should be over it.  Do you think that can complicate a griever’s process?

    People who have not experienced the pain and suffering of losing a loved one often have of the wrong presumption of the length of time that is needed and necessary for the griever, well to grieve and mourn.

    People really do want to help but don’t know how.  They lack knowledge and understanding.  In turn, many aren’t familiar with the behaviors that are present within the grieving process.   Hence out of the need to want to help people and wanting to feel they are contributing something of value the ‘should’ on the griever.  You should just keep busy… you should sell the house… you should take a vacation… you shouldn’t do that, feel that, be that… You should get over it and move on.  These words are not said maliciously, yet these words feel like knives stabbing in the back, hurtful and insensitive.

    The big message here is the length of time needed for a griever’s heart to heal is undefined, unique, and individual.

    On-going support – I have coached many people coping with the loss of loved ones for over 12 years they all shared similar patterns and needs:  they all wanted to feel like someone else out there ‘got it’ and understood as well as they didn’t want to be judged and have to find a reason to explain why they were having a grief burst.

    So it doesn’t matter if it’s been 6 months or 6 years… “Grief doesn’t go away with time, it only erupts less frequently.”  Integrating life, loss and love helps a mourner learn to live with it and grow while they transition and heal.

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