I thought I would post these again as when I was early in my grief, they were both very helpful.
After my Jeff died I found these invaluable, being in such a dark place, frightened and feeling very alone. I came to learn that there were many who were with me in my grief, as they truly understood. I also came to realize that through my grieving, I still had rights! No one could take away my memories or deny me the right to grieve, in my own way.
I also made copies of both and gave them to family members and friends and they let me know how helpful it was as they just didn't have the right "words" and needed to know that it was not only OK to speak his name and often, but it was like a "song to my heart" whenever someone spoke of him.
I hope by sharing it with someone that it will help you, as it did me.
The Mournerís Bill of Rights ~ Alan D. Wolfert, Ph.D
Although you should reach out to others as you do the work of mourning, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people. You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain ďrightsĒ no one should try to take away from you.
1) You have the right to experience your own unique grief. No one else will grieve in exactly the same way you do. So, when you turn to others for help, donít allow them to tell you what you should or should not be feeling.
2) You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk as much as you want, as often as you want, about your grief. If at times you donít feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.
3) You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. Confusion, disorientation, fear, guilt, and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey. Others may try to tell you that feeling angry, for example, is wrong. Donít take these judgmental responses to heart. Instead, find listeners who will accept your feelings without condition.
4) You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. Your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And donít allow others to push you into doing things you donít feel ready to do.
5) You have the right to experience ďgriefbursts.Ē Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but is normal and natural. Find someone who understands and will let you talk it out.
6) You have the right to make use of ritual. The funeral ritual does more than acknowledge the death of someone loved. It helps provide you with the support of caring people. More importantly, the funeral is a way for you to mourn. If others tell you the funeral or other healing rituals such as these are silly or unnecessary, donít listen.
7) You have the right to embrace your spirituality. If faith is part of your life, express it in ways that seem appropriate to you. Allow yourself to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. If you feel angry at God, find someone to talk with who wonít be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.
Cool You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking, ďWhy did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?Ē Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for clichťd responses some people may give you. Comments like, ďIt was Godís willĒ or ďThink of what you have to be thankful forĒ are not helpful and you do not have to accept them.
9) You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved. You will always remember. Instead of ignoring your memories, find others with whom you can share them.
10) You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief will not happen quickly. Remember, grief is a process, not an event. Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of someone loved changes your life forever.
PLEASE donít ask me if Iím over it yet. Iíll never be over it.
PLEASE donít tell me heís in a better place. He isnít here with me.
PLEASE donít say at least he isnít suffering. I havenít come to terms with why he had to suffer at all.
PLEASE donít tell me you know how I feel, even if you have lost a loved one.
PLEASE donít ask me if I feel better. Bereavement isnít a condition that clears up.
PLEASE donít tell me that at least I had him for so many years. What year would you choose for your loved one to die?
PLEASE donít tell me God never gives us more than we can bear. Please, just say youíre sorry.
PLEASE, just say you remember my loved one, if in fact you do.
Please, mention his name.
PLEASE, just let me cry.