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Sometimes even the brightest of days can be dark when the difficulties of life rear their ugly heads. But there is a silver lining to this, there are those that are willing to help us through these darker days. This is all about looking at grief, and raising awareness both of how to cope with grief, and how to help others cope. So look around and offer that helping hand, lend an ear and join us on National Grief Awareness Day to show those around us that we are here for them.

History of National Grief Awareness Day

To truly understand how to help people, including yourself, cope with grief, sometimes it is best to try and understand exactly what grief is. It is usually in response to the loss of someone or something important in your life. Many times bonds of affection or love exist that make it that much harder to cope with influx of emotions. Yet many of us forget the cognitive, social and philosophical difficulties that can come from losing someone close to us.

Many believe in the five stages of grief, and helping someone go through those stages can be more important than anything during difficult times of grief. First is the stage of denial, where they do not believe the reason for the grief has even occurred. Just being there during the time they are going through this stage is all that is needed; indeed many people go through this stage when reminded about anything to deal with the grief. Second is the stage of anger, where the one grieving lashes out at anyone and anything around it. Be careful around those in this stage, as occasionally physical manifestations of grief occur here in very violent forms. Third is the stage of bargaining, where they are focused more on a belief or what if statements and ideals.

The difficulty with guilt can be a hallmark here, but just being there helps many cope with this. The fourth stage is depression. This is the moment when they know the grief is real, and it hits them hard. This is not to say they were not depressed before over the situation, but this is when the depression really comes to the forefront. This moment can be very hard to deal with, but helping them by reminding them of the good things can help as much as being there for them. The final stage is acceptance, and this is where they are looking forward, not only back. They will likely never forget, but they will move forward, able to return to normal after a fashion.

These stages are not fully linear; we don’t always go through them once and are done. We can bounce between them for minutes, hours, days or even months. Each person is different, as is their methods of grief and coping with the various stages.

How to celebrate National Grief Awareness Day

Be there for them. While not all of us are clinically registered, we can help people out in our own ways. Whether it is with jokes and laughter, or a comforting presence and a warm meal. Each of us can help those in grief in different ways. If there are too many problems, sometimes looking into a counselor, therapist or other professional may not be out of the question. But remember, no matter the situation, be there for them and offer your help if they need it.

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