The grieving process can be difficult to navigate since it’s never quite the same for any one person. Different people are affected by and react to grief in many different ways, and feelings and emotions can change from day to day, even hour to hour. It’s important to understand that there is no right or wrong way to grieve – your grief is unique to you. However, there are some universal paths we all seem to take at some time or another while we mourn.
William G. Hoy, Clinical Professor of Medical Humanities at Baylor University, created what has become known as the Compass Model to help provide some guidance to those going through grief. The four points of the compass represent directions we tend to go in, not sequentially, but in our own order, in our own time. These are referred to as the “the 4 R’s”: remembering, reaffirming, realizing, and releasing.
We may experience each of the 4 R’s multiple times or even at the same time, but no matter how uncharted your course may seem, it will eventually lead to a sense of renewal.
Remembering – telling stories, looking at pictures and sharing memories can make you feel sad, but can also make you smile or laugh at the same time. Reminiscing like this is an essential part of healing.
Reaffirming – It is natural to question faith and lose a sense of purpose when grieving. Struggling with loss often forces us to reaffirm our values, beliefs and goals, as well as look for spiritual meanings from which we can draw strength and comfort.
Realizing – At some point, we all come to terms with the reality of our loss. Though extremely painful, this is an important step in the grieving process, moving you closer to acceptance and peace.
Releasing – Saying goodbye and adjusting to life without a loved one is something that is hard to imagine at first, but over time this “release” will occur and you will learn to move forward with a “new normal.”
Everyone will make their way through the 4R’s differently, but renewal is the light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.
If you need help getting through your grief, you can download our free ebook for a more detailed explanation of the grieving process, the types of emotions and reactions you may experience and how the Compass Model can guide you through it all. You can also find helpful resources by visiting us online, or simply giving Sytsema Funeral & Cremation Services a call. To contact our Grand Haven location dial 616-842-6100, or to reach us in Muskegon, call 231-726-5210. Our compassionate staff is always happy to help.