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Jewish Grieving Customs
Facing the Legalities
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The 1969 publication of what was to become a landmark book, On Death and Dying, written by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross changed the way we looked at grief. She described five stage of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance–stages which became the foundation of our understanding of the grief process.
But later research has shown that the grief process does not proceed in a linear or cyclical fashion, but rather in a back-and-forth fashion which moves between the experience of sadness, anger, yearning, or crying; and the experience of feeling joy or contentment. This is almost a “safety valve”, giving the bereaved a period of rest in dealing with their grief.
Grief is, you see, work. And it seems the body intuitively knows that such hard work requires periods of rest. This natural back-and-forth process helps us to achieve the four essential tasks in grieving:
1. To accept the reality of the loss
2. To work through to the pain of grief
3. To adjust to an environment in which the deceased is missing
4. To emotionally relocate the deceased and move on with life
But what if you get stuck? Perhaps you can’t accept this new reality; or maybe working through the pain of grief is wearing you down. That’s when a qualified grief counselor can help.
We have community-based resources that can help. For more information, please feel free to ask us at the funeral home, or contact us here. You may also contact your Synagogue or Grief counseling through the Jewish bereavement counseling service. Furthermore, read through the information provided below.