The Mourner's Bill of Rights

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The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by heart_and_soul on Thu Jan 13, 2011 05:40 PM

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The Mourner's Bill of Rights
by Alan D. Wolfelt Ph.D 

Though 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 "rights" no one should try to take away from you.

The following list is intended to both empower you to heal and to decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you for reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones.

The Mourner's Bill of Rights

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, don't allow them to tell 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 don't feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.)

3. You have the right to feel a multitude of emotions. (Confrontation, disorientation, fear, guilt and relief are a 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. Don't 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 don't allow others to push you into doing things you don't feel ready to do.)

5. You have the right to experience "griefbursts." (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 allow you to talk it out. )

6. You have the right to make use of ritual. (The funeral 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, don't listen.)

7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. ( If faith is a 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 won't be critical of your feelings of hurt and abandonment.)

8. You have the right to search for meaning. (You may find yourself asking,"Why did he or she die? Why this way? Why now?" Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. And watch out for the cliched responses some people may give you. Comments like, "It was God's will" or "Think of what you have to be thankful for" 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 to 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 of 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.)

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by Roselvr on Thu Jan 13, 2011 05:48 PM

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Great list & so very true! I also feel that loss is personal & that people shouldn't compare.

I wish I had the list back when my dad passed.

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by number9 on Thu Jan 13, 2011 05:52 PM

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thank you

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by arvesta on Thu Jan 13, 2011 05:55 PM

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Sooooo true and so nice of you to share.  Sarah, thanks for the heart and the soul.

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by lee-lee on Thu Jan 13, 2011 06:48 PM

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Wonderful!  Thanks so much for sharing!

Blessings, lee-lee

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by Broken on Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:03 PM

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thank you for the wonderful post.  So, So True - will stop spending so much time feeling guilty about my emotions & my undying love for the man I lost.

Broken

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by Lpgraphics on Fri Jan 28, 2011 04:49 PM

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Thank you Heart and Soul for sharing this

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by ericay on Fri Feb 18, 2011 02:48 PM

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Thank you so much for this posting! I was relieved to read it and find that the emotions I feel are NORMAL! I can not thank you enough! Lost my Dad two weeks ago and will share this with my loved ones! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by ILOVEDAD on Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:38 PM

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Thank you.  I lost my dad 17-days ago.

RE: The Mourner's Bill of Rights

by mebenz31 on Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:24 AM

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 Thank you for the Bill of Rights...... I would just like to add to #8, I Hate when someone says " God always takes the good ones"  That's NOT helpful.........

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