Friday, August 15, 2014

Recovering from the Loss of a Loved One? Here We Are

By Daniel Applegate
President, Arlington Memorial Gardens

The funeral is over. You have left the cemetery following the committal service. Perhaps you had a family gathering after the funeral, but now you’re home. Eventually, whether it’s today, tomorrow or several days from now, your support system, those relatives and/or friends who love and care about you, will take their leave, departing to return to the hustle and bustle of their own lives. And it’s at this time, this precise moment, that reality will set in -- the crushing, empty finality of your loss.

You try to deal with it because you loath the very notion that you could ever become a burden to anyone, especially to those you love; but you’re suddenly feeling strangely disconnected from your former life, you know, the one that ended abruptly just days earlier. So, you choose the “I’ll do this on my own” road to travel. 

You awake in the morning after having experienced a fitful night of sleep – if you slept at all. You prepare breakfast for yourself and begin your forlorn day of going through the motions, doing those things you feel compelled to do but which seem to suck energy from your very soul. Wash and repeat – this is your new life; this is who you are. Despondency sets in. The nights grow longer and even more fitful than before. The days are more challenging. The depression deepens and it feels as though there is little hope of ever feeling better.

Unfortunately, many survivors feel this way after the death of a loved-one.  It’s just part of the crummy hand that you’re dealt when someone close to you dies. In most cases, survivors suffer grief and anxiety to one degree or another. In some cases, the grief is so overwhelming that it can be a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). And actually, there’s very little that anyone can do or say to purge those feelings of loss.  Because losing someone you care about is a sad and gut-wrenching experience.  It’s a condition of our species. Homo sapiens.
While in these circumstances grief may be our captor, fortunately for us, we need not remain its long term prisoners. There is a way out. Well, “out” may be a misnomer; really, there is a path “through” the grief, a path that leads to an ultimately healthy recovery. And that path is not for solo trekkers. It’s one where survivors band together, walk together and draw strength from each other. That path is called grief support.

Our grief support program is here for you, designed to help you begin to see over the horizon and understand that there are possibilities of living a full life again - even in the aftermath of a death. It’s not a replacement for your loss nor is it a panacea. But it can be a kick-start to your healthyrecovery -- if you’re willing to make the effort and commitment to attend and to participate.

One of our Core Values at Arlington Memorial Gardens is to “Make a Difference that Matters.” Providing a grief support program that leads survivors to a healthy recovery does just that.  If you have suffered a loss and are finding life burdensome, I invite you to attend our grief support program

Daniel Applegate became part of the Arlington Memorial Gardens organization in 2001 and has worked in the cemetery industry since 1981, including serving as Secretary/Treasurer and then as President of the Ohio state cemetery association.  He was appointed by Ohio Governor George Voinovich and served two terms on the Ohio Cemetery Dispute Resolution Commission, Ohio's cemetery oversight agency. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University holding a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science.