Mitch Carmody of Heartlight Studios spoke with Dr. Heidi Horsley during the 2015 Association of Death Education and Counseling 2015 about the death of a child. He lost his own son when his child was just nine, and he says the biggest help in addressing your grief is not to forget. It’s common in American society to want to put things behind us, but the first year of grief is just the beginning. Grief can often act like an infant, and it can take just as long as a person to mature. In the first year, grief is an infant that needs to be held and hugged. It can easily take a lifetime to develop.
Some people can stay in trauma their entire lives, he explains. Others may reach autonomy after a few years. Even five years can be new, he says. “You’re a five year old in your grief…I’m a 27 year old in my grief,” he shares. He’s personally reached “college age” as a griever, and at this stage wants to help people. People, especially in grief, can relate to Winnie the Pooh characters. Those personality profiles make it a little simpler to work with and help those in grief.
The Age of Grief
Identifying who you are in terms of Winnie the Pooh can also help those in grief figure out what will aid them best. “We have to educate the Tiggers in the world,” he says. He’s a strong advocate of The Compassionate Friends as well as Bereaved Parents USA or your local church. Seek out groups that provide support and resources, no matter how fresh your grief.
There’s no way to understand how someone in grief feels, but sympathy is key. Finding a supportive network can help “mature” your grief, understand it, and learn how to handle it on a day to day basis in a healthier manner.