Grief

Grief is an emotion that every one of us must experience in our lifetimes. It does not have limits or boundaries, and anyone may be profoundly affected by it. Every loss we experience, directly or indirectly, serves as a gateway to memories of previous losses, and so both those close to those immediately involved and those whose experience is more abstract or removed can find themselves deeply grieving in times of community trauma. Similarly, feelings of loss can meld into feelings of anxiety, fear, and emotional confusion. It is hard to know what is safe and reliable when familiar settings are suddenly touched by violence.

Some points to remember as we reach out to help each other, and reach out for support ourselves:

  • There is no correct time, length, or intensity for grief. Each person has a unique and individual way of grieving, and it is important to step back from judging others for those differences.
  • If you feel that you are dealing with your experiences of loss well on your own right now, you may yet find that you need help or support at a later date, and that is absolutely appropriate. It’s never “too late” to grieve.
  • It is most common to look for support during times of loss from those whose experiences we share, those who know us best and can be there in the ways that most soothe.Seeking help from a mental health professional can be a comforting alternative or supplement to the support of those close to you.

Miami students can receive help in connecting with a mental health professional by contacting the Student Counseling Service at 513.529.4634. Our local community referral list is available on this SCS webpage, and any Oxford resident may contact the professionals listed there for assistance during challenging times. 

Support may also be obtained by contacting religious and spiritual advisors in the community.

Anxiety, fearfulness, a sense of distraction and inability to concentrate, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, and feelings of isolation or social distance are common after-effects of a loss. If you are experiencing these worrisome reactions and they become severe, or seem to be enduring longer than is manageable for you, it is appropriate to seek out professional help.

Coming together to share experiences, find common ground and touch one another while feelings are intense is a helpful way to manage intense loss. If you are able to attend a memorial service or meeting, do so.

One source of very powerful non-verbal support during times of loss is the presence and comfort of animal companions. The SCS has an extensive dog therapy program, and we will be glad to help you connect with therapy dogs to attend a community meeting or event that is focused on the recent losses. Visit Pet Therapy Outreach for more information.

Some other sources for further information: