General Forums >> General Discussions >> How to deal with grief? (Opinion)

Rate

How to deal with grief? (Opinion)

571 Views
20 Replies Flag as inappropriate

-6 posts

back to top

Posted over 1 year ago

 

My uncle passed away in September, the car accident was a pile up. However, he was the first vehicle hit, by a semi.


In december, my close friend Albert died in a car accident as well. (Not a lot of information)


My closest friend, well pretty much brother, passed away from taking unnessary medicine that affected his heart condition...he died on March 4th.


Then while attending the DPS and State memorial this past monday, I come to find out Ofc. Tim Huffman was rear ended and killed on duty while attending to a accident. 


I did not deal with these deaths in a good way, but who can say what way is good. Here is the question for all future, present, and retired LEO'S, How do you deal with grief and loss?

Cool-santa1_max50

8351 posts

back to top
+2

Rated +2 | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Grief affects different people different ways. What may work for me may not work for you. Talking about it does help. It eases the burden of you trying to cope alone. There are a ton of support groups out there, as well as grief counselors. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It does not make you any less of a person.


Batgirl has some good suggestions, but I have to disagree with one thing she said. "Time heals all wounds." No, it doesn't. TIme helps in most cases. But in some cases, time only makes it easier to cope with.


In some of my experiences dealing with grief, I have talked about it to total strangers. You're never in this alone. Someone, somewhere has been through similar experiences.


Best wishes.


In GOD We Trust (All others get searched, then checked through NCIC)

MODERATOR #10

Photobucket

IN HONOR OF OUR FALLEN

Cruise_2014_max50

2618 posts

back to top
+1

Rated +1 | Posted over 1 year ago

 

I'm going to Bump Tim's post and go a little further.


As a person ages, they tend to deal with grief differently than when they were younger. I've had my share of grief from the loss of loved-one, friends, and colleagues. In each case, I dealt with my grief differnetly than the other. Sometimes inappropriately. Sometimes with a longer duration.


In the past 12 years, going back to 2001, I've been forced to deal with the deaths of friends (suicide and (9/11), colleagues (9/11 and OTJ), and family (both parents, in-laws, and brother). I can honestly say that each of those deaths caused me to experience a different form of grief. The one constant in ALL of them was finding the right support from family and friends and talking about how I was feeling at the time. I give a lot of credit to my wife who saw that I was very much like my father and tended to keep things bottled up. She would force me to find the right outlet.


 The answer is that whatever way we find that works for us in the moment and is not destructive is the right way to deal with grief.


PL MENTORING TEAM MEMBER

"Don't underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State." From the film "Dogma"

Trying to stay sane in an insane world...

S

396 posts

back to top
+1

Rated +1 | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Death is a very hard thing to cope with. About 2 years ago I lost one of my best friends. We grew up together, went to school together and went fishing and hung out quite a bit. He died suddenly in a matter of days from an infection from a bite or cut on his leg that he let get out of hand. A few months later I lost my little brother in a car wreck when the car he was a passenger in ran off the road and hit a tree, he was on life support about a week, unresponsive with massive brain damage before we decided to let him go. I didn't handle these deaths very well. I bottled up my feelings inside and didn't want to talk about them. I was mad at myself, at them, at God and the whole world. It was a very difficult time for me and I wasn't a very nice person to be around during my grief. It took me about a year and a lot of praying and talking to people who cared about me to get through it. I still miss them both very much, but I realize that they both had accepted Christ as their Saviour and are in a far etter place right now. I pray for all those who are, or who will be going through these trials of grief and loss, that God will help them through them all and that they will be a much better person from their experiences.

-6 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Very good response everyone! Thank you, I am really happy with everything going right now. Especially on my road to becoming a sworn officer, hopefully soon. I love to see everyones comments!

Img_3413_sq90_max50

718 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

First, I am sorry for your losses. They are all devestating to one who loves the person and to have so many in such a short time frame makes it especially hard. As has been said people deal with their grief in many different ways, but everyone goes through the four stages of grief: Anger, Bargaining, Depression (Despair) and Acceptance. Some go through the stages quickly, some take a long time and some bounce around. No one way is the correct way . Everybody grieves differently. and because one person you know is doing it different ly than you means that either one of you are having issues with your grief. Turn to your support sustems, whether it be family, friends, Church or all of the above. Reminiscing about the person and crying and laughing about those memories is okay. One thing to be careful of and many people including LEOs tend to "self medicate" (alcohol) to make them feel better, be careful of that. Having a drink or two is okay but if turning to self medication is the only way you cope with the loss then turn to your support systems to help you find a different way to cope. one thing you have going for you (among many oyhers) is that you have a big supportive family here on PL. I know from experience when I have lost friends and posted the loss the public and private support from PL members is very much appreciated and heartwarming. Good luck in your endeavors and as you work through your grief. 

Images_max50

6020 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

5-9-13


Good answers by all.


The Guy !
Photobucket

Honoring the Fallen

25-1-13-a_1__max50

2242 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

DesiraeDPS says ...



Very good response everyone! Thank you, I am really happy with everything going right now. Especially on my road to becoming a sworn officer, hopefully soon. I love to see everyone's comments!



Let me start by giving HUGE bumps to all that has been said so far.  As stated, grief as it relates to death and how it is dealt with differs from one individual to another and as much as the manner in which a person dies.  Grief shows you have feelings.  One can have grief for someone they don't even know.  Grief, may strike us at any time, especially in this line of work.  I find that as stated by Tim (36TR), talking about it helps.  The problem is finding someone that will listen when a counselor or support group is not readily available.  I would add to those things, a religious leader (pastor, priest, etc.).  Many are readily available 24/7.  Many police departments have a department Chaplain available.  They may or not be affiliated with your personal religion or belief system, yet they are available and at your disposal whether you are dealing with your own grief or attempting to help someone else deal with theirs.


Several years ago, along with officers from two other allied agencies, responded to the sheriff's department homicide scene in my area.  The responding deputy was alone and homicide investigators were still a long way out.  The immediate need was traffic and crowd control.  Upon arrival, I was met by the parent of a 12 year old boy who I had been dealing with during the past several weeks.  The single parent, an old school OG gangster who had struggled to turn his life around and was attempting raise the child along with the child's 19 year old brother.  He informed me that the 19 year old was the victim of a shooting but that he did not know the condition of his son.  At the moment, it was not my scene so I walked him to the deputy.  To that end, I had never participated in or done a death notice, but I knew that there is no real good way to tell a person that their child (or other family member) was dead.  I was not prepared for the way the deputy gave the parent this important information that his son died as a result of his injuries.  The deputy simply said, "He died."  No "I'm sorry" or physical gesture of comfort as a way to prepare him for what was coming.  He screamed and started running for a busy intersection.  All of us, the deputy, a Sgt from one allied agency and two CHP officers and I chased after him and stopped him before he could run into traffic.  He struggled but them saw that I was there and focused his attention to me.  As he stopped resisting, all of the officers stepped back.  As I held him in my arms, they watched from a short but guarded distance and listened as he looked up at me with the look only a parent could have and asked, "WHY...... Why did they have to shoot my son?"  As I answered his repeated question, "I don't know" I happened to see the two CHP officers off to my right.  They were wiping the tears from their eyes as they stood and watched.  I had to turn away and not look at them..... I was having my own battle attempting to fight my own tears and being choked up.


I suggested the deputy call for a chaplain for the parent of the victim.  Over time, I talked to a chaplain from my department chaplain corp and to my religious leaders.  All that said, as I relate the story, I still picture the look in the eyes of this parent and I feel his pain and sorrow and I still tend to tear up.


If your intention is to become LE, I suggest that you find some sort of focal point to get through the moments where you are needed.  Then when you are alone and away from the moment, find a focal point, belief system and ways to release those emotions.  Do not bottle them up or you will become a recipe for disaster. 

Caduceus_max50

2196 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Not a LEO either. While in the service I worked in a burn unit of a Naval Hospital. That was 46 years ago. Several many of the Marines died there, some right in front of me.  All that I can add is that you will never forget those memories, but don't let them run your life.


Doc


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes.
Troll Hunter, "Doc", LEO Supporter.
It's not the falling down, it's the staying down.

Images_max50

6020 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Just a few things. Pure clinical observation: 10 out of 10 people die. Once you begin to wrap your head around this, then life, or end of life incidents, will be less 100% devastating.


It will only be 99% devastating.


Sudden death kicks you in the gut, takes your breath in a negative way, and robs you of your immediate sensibilities. Even death involving a lingering illness still is numbing.


I have had my very share of death around me. From my father, family members, friends and my colleagues. I have dealt with them the same way. I have relaxed and let grief 'flow' around me like a wave on the seashore. Cold and powerful when it hits you and somewhat relieving when ebb tide rolls back out. It never pulls you out far if you just standing on the shore. It's only when you keep walking into the water that an emotional undertow can pull you completely down.


Usually, weeping. And hard. Sometimes for days. If you are a LEO and are offered bereavement days, do not decline them. There is nothing sissified about taking days off because of a death in the family. Never.


As far as death notification, .... I used to volunteer for these. I was given as much time to 'finish' this call for service as I deemed necessary. Sometimes a few minutes, others many hours. I have wept with people with whom I have shared a death notice. Even though in uniform, I tried to transcend the badge and exude human plainess. I never said someone 'passed away'. And I always told folks as much as I knew.


Simple. And hard at the same time.


The Guy !
Photobucket

Honoring the Fallen

Nqdz7m_max50

8511 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

First of all let me extend my heartfelt sympathy to you.  You are suffering and I want very much for God to help you heal.


I have lost two immediate family members in the last two years, my mother and my youngest brother.  There is no cure for for grief.  Each man and woman's grief is unique to them.  No one can 'speed the process' for you.  Grief takes its own time to go, and it never goes away. 


I am still grieving.  Friends try to help, but they can't know.


There is a poem by Akhmatova, a Russian poet.  Maybe I synthesized two of her poems together.  It expressed my grief.  You can't stop grief, but maybe you will find an expression of it that tells you your grief.


 


If grief is an oration


We have been speaking to you since you left us.


You and I are mountains facing each other.


We will never meet again on this earth.


But I wish sometime at midnight,


You would send me a message through the stars.

Cruise_2014_max50

2618 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

TheSarge says ...



As far as death notification, .... I used to volunteer for these. I was given as much time to 'finish' this call for service as I deemed necessary. Sometimes a few minutes, others many hours. I have wept with people with whom I have shared a death notice. Even though in uniform, I tried to transcend the badge and exude human plainess. I never said someone 'passed away'. And I always told folks as much as I knew.


Simple. And hard at the same time.



Talk about represssed memories, Sarge. You sure know how to get them to flood out. 


When Gabby Giffords was shot in Arizona, I was 2400 miles away working the 3-11 shift at my old PD. The news had already been broken about the shooting and we were loosely following it during our tour. I was on my dinner break when the tour commander radioed to the only female working the shift. He told her to come into HQ to get info for a notification related to the shooting. My gut (and extreme curiosity) made me call him to ask about it. I had done many of these over the years and knew the female was not well experienced with them. I was going to volunteer. 


I asked the boss about the notification. He told me that one of our former residents was one of the victims who died. I asked him for the name. Phyllis Schneck. My heart dropped. This was one of my old friend's mother. I knew her well before she moved to AZ. She and I used to have spirited debates about politics (I always took an opposing side from her just to get her going.) I told the boss I was going to do the notification. (I never TOLD a boss I was going to anything.) He began to argue with me. I told him why. He agreed to let me do it but wanted me to take the female with me for support.


We got to their home and the female says to me, "I'm glad you wanted to do this, I hate them." I explained to her why I was doing it. She was stunned and said that she would do whatever I told her. 


We rang the bell and my friend opened the door. As soon as he saw me he knew why I was there. We went into the living room and I made him sit down. I gave him the news as compassionately and gently as possible. His wife and kids were there with us. We stayed with the family for several hours. Days later, my wife and I attended the memorial service. And throughout the criminal proceedings and on the anniversary of the shooting I check in on him to let him know I'm thinking about him and his mom.


This was not my first friend who lost a loved one that I notified. They all sucked. And I spent as much time as I was needed with ALL of my notifications (friend or not). I wanted to be very compassionate, supportive, and professional as I could be - no matter how painful it was for me. 


Two years ago, my brother died suddenly. He was 54. His wife and kids were with him. But, I have seven brothers and sisters. It fell on me to let them know what happened. It was the hardest thing for me to do in my life. 


I grieved differently for those two. I've grieved differently for every death that touched me. But, I grieved. That's the thing. You have to allow for some form of grief. Or else you're just not human. 


PL MENTORING TEAM MEMBER

"Don't underestimate the drawing power of the Garden State." From the film "Dogma"

Trying to stay sane in an insane world...

Images_max50

6020 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

BigNTS says ...



(see above)


 


+++++++++++++++++


Well put.


If you don't grieve, you're just not human.



The Guy !
Photobucket

Honoring the Fallen

25-1-13-a_1__max50

2242 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

So where did the O/P go?

-26 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Fine responces thus far.Grief is a natural reaction for all who suffer from a devastating loss of life,by a loved one.I lost a two day old son in Sept. 1975.Four years ,to the day,later I lost a seventeen year old who died in a fatal traffic collision,with two of his best friends.Some thoughtless individuals will tell you"get over it".One never does,BUT,one learns to COPE and /or accept.If one wears a badge for some twenty five years in a city of half a million,one will see more death than any civilian could ever imagine possible.These are events which are totally beyond the control of we mere mortals.As difficult or impossible as it may appear,at times,it is up to we tne living to carry on.---Noone on earth can tell you the proper way to grieve,because there isn't one form fitted for all.

Nqdz7m_max50

8511 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

This is a good discussion, regardless where the OP went.


A detective teaching criminal justice course showed a great video called "Under the Gun" about the many emotional challenges that face LEOs.  Made a long time ago.  Still relevant.


One officer had the job of informing the family.  That was his main job. One family after another.  Again and again.   For years. The emotional pressure build-up was phenomenal.  Can you imagine the impact on his heart?  To have that as a job?  Not even chaplains have that kind of duty.  It got so the officer was having anxiety attacks on the walkway leading to the front door.  He couldn't breathe. He collapsed.  They had to take him off the duty to protect his heart.


THAT is a Big Picture of LE you NEVER see on television.  Why? Because it 'takes too long to play.'


 


 

Batman_max600_1__max50

3569 posts

    

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Very good topic. I had to inform the parents of a local youth that he had died in a tragic drowning incident. This boy was in my son's class and they were friends. the father was at a bar and would not come with me so I could tell him at his residence. He demanded that I tell him so I did and he collasped in the bar. I got him to my patrol car and drove him and his father home. That day I was so over come with grief and heart break I punched my patrol vehicle. a fellow Deputy and I cried in each others arms. This is never a good detail but one I will do as compassinately and professionally as I can. 


Bad stuff happens to good people, handle it and overcome.
My motto for life:
Let go and let GOD,
Only HE can control everything.

Nqdz7m_max50

8511 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your

laughter rises was oftentime filled with your tears...

When you are joyous, look deep into

your heart and you shall find it is only

that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in

your heart, and you shall see that in truth

you are weeping for that which has been

your delight.


 


Khalil Gibran

Cool-santa1_max50

8351 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

SkoolCop says ...



So where did the O/P go?



Evidently, she was made to feel somewhat unwelcomed through a few PM's.


In GOD We Trust (All others get searched, then checked through NCIC)

MODERATOR #10

Photobucket

IN HONOR OF OUR FALLEN

Cool-santa1_max50

8351 posts

back to top
Rate

Rate This | Posted over 1 year ago

 

Marly, those are great poems!!


As many of you know, I lost my first wife to Cancer several years ago (16+ to be more precise). Five years ago, my Father died somewhat unexpectedly, follow by my Mother a year and a half later after an extended illness (Alzheimer's). All of them affected me differently - yet all of them still linger. We knew Linda's was to be expected, yet I was devastated. 16 years later and I still have that void. I wasn't ready to let either parent go, even though they were in their 80's and that still hurts. The pain never goes away; time just makes it easier to cope.


When Linda passed away, I had 4 years with the Department (the Department's actions during that time are another whole story). By then, I had handled my fair share of deceased person calls. Within a week of me returning to work after her death, I was sent to a deceased person call. It was a whole new experience for me. I felt more compassion than previously, and have treated every call like that in the same manner since then. In most cases, I stay with the family until the deceased has been removed. Sometimes even longer. And yes, on some of them I have wept with the family. I know their pain.


I haven't done many death notifications - that's normally a supervisor thing with our department. The few I've done, I stay as long as I need to.


Getting back to Marly's poems; when Linda passed away a co-worker gave me a poem for comfort. It helped so much with the grief that I had it engraved on the back of our stone:

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain

I am the gentle autumn's rain.

When you wake in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there, I did not die.


Mary Elizabeth Frye


In GOD We Trust (All others get searched, then checked through NCIC)

MODERATOR #10

Photobucket

IN HONOR OF OUR FALLEN