I’m going on a crusade. Care to join me?
For clarity, I’m not preparing a holy war undertaken with papal sanction. My crusade is along the lines of "a concerted effort against an abuse.” Let me explain.
This week, I hosted the first of three sessions of my webinar From Grief to Gratitude: A Journey of Hope (clink link to join the last two sessions, four spots available). I was blessed to meet some very courageous and caring people grieving significant losses in their lives. This free webinar came about because I have a theory that much of the pain we see lived out in our families, communities, country, and world has its origin in experiences of loss that have not been well tended through healthy grieving and intentional transitioning.
Since losses are a major life transition and I am a passionate life transition coach, this webinar is one way I hope to help people thrive through their grief journey.
I also feel that our society sends an unhealthy message that grief is a temporary malfunction one can fix in three days for immediate family, one day for extended family and with saying, "Sorry to hear about your loss but see you at work in the morning" for our cherished friends. By the way, these time periods are recommended by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But even these inadequate recommendations are just that-recommendations. Recent statistics show that only 70% of full-time workers and 30% of part-time workers receive bereavement leave of any kind. For those who receive some form of leave, research done by the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans (IFEBP) reveals the following percentages of companies offer the indicated bereavement time:
Death of Spouse
Death of Child/Parent
Six days or more-5%
Six days or more-3%
The IFEBP reported most businesses offered one day of bereavement leave to attend the funeral of an aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew. No statistics (i.e., no leave) are available for bereavement associated with friends, pets, etc.
Considering these numbers, it’s no wonder so many people in our places of work, play and worship are carrying around such heavy burdens. They’re grieving!
In addition to losing a loved one, our culture compounds the pain by communicating a message of, "get over the loss already and if you can’t get over it quickly, there is something wrong with you." In other words: You’re broken. Sadly, many people resort to self-medication or over-consumption in response to their grief.
Loss is painful. Don't go it alone.
For the record:
Grieving is a painful and perfectly healthy and normal response to loss. It takes time measured in months and years to grieve. Grieving-the process of adapting to a loss-ends in due time.
Grief never ends. Grief is the emotion experienced from a loss. Grief is the cost of loving someone. Our love for them never ends either. Psychiatrist M. K. Shear says, “Grief is the form love takes when someone we love dies.” Grief can’t be ignored. Its pain will come out one way or the other.
Grieving is one of the most human things we do. There is nothing broken or malfunctioning. How we care for those who've died reveals how we care for the living.
Back to my crusade. I believe at a minimum, the bereavement leave policy should replicate leave associated with having a baby – twelve weeks. Not that twelve weeks is sufficient to live through a transition resulting from a death of a loved one but it’s a start.
I'm a life transition coach. I view each of my clients as whole and capable persons who do not need fixed. They are the expert of their lives even when they are grieving.
If you need a safe place to grieve well-to share your stories and be heard without judgement-join my webinar for the last two sessions. If thebtimes don't work for you, schedule a complementary Welcome to Coaching Session with me right now and let’s see how coaching can help you thrive through whatever life transition you're experiencing, including the loss of a loved one.
As one wise participant of my webinar said (she gave me permission to share):
In my experience people will say...It will be OK. So often to us that means it will be the same. In reality, because we are grieving, IT WILL NOT BE THE SAME. YET, it will be okay.
You’re grieving. You’re not broken.
(and you will be okay)
Reach out to me if you would like help carrying your burden. I believe in you.