Wear the Gown: Helping others grieve

Wear the Gown: Helping others grieve

The Uvalde school shooting has brought grief to the forefront. In this Wear the Gown, Jeremy Baker from KENS5 asked Dr. Morrow about the grieving process and how you can help others.

Dr. Jason Morrow is a palliative care and clinical ethics specialist at University Health. He explains the effects grief can have on a person and what we can do about it.

Personal and Community Loss

The grieving process is a normal human response to a loss of life. It’s emotional and often comes in waves. Those who are grieving often try to just get through each day.

“It’s all a part of loving somebody,” Dr. Morrow says. “When you lose them or are worried about losing them, then it pulls at you and weighs on you, and it disrupts your entire life.” 

Dr. Morrow says you can experience grief whether the loss is personal or in your community. 

“When it’s the loss that’s personal, we really need to be mindful of giving space to let people process on their own terms. The best we can do is to help ensure that others know they’re not alone.” 

Stages of Grief

Five stages of grief are often used as the most common. They are:

  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Dr. Morrow says the best thing you can do is to be there if that person needs you. “The best we can do for those who are suffering personal and intense loss is to just be available and remind them that we remain available,” he says. 

How to Talk to Children about Grief

When it comes to children, most often they’ll come to you when they’re ready. “Taking time to sit down and listen, to ask open-ended questions like what worries you, what questions do you have, how are you feeling, becomes an invitation for them to share what they’re feeling,” Dr. Morrow says. 

Dr. Morrow also says a good way to talk to your child is to turn off the TV and do some type of activity, like a puzzle. That could make it easier for you to ask questions, and easier for them to open up.

Palliative Care at University Health

Palliative care is a special type of care for people with serious or chronic illnesses. University Health earned Advanced Certification in Palliative Care from The Joint Commission. We support people with conditions including ALS, cancer, Alzheimer’s and stroke.

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