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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Families: Nebraska's Future

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Keeping Families First

Programs are available throughout Nebraska to help meet the needs of families and children


Dealing with Loss

Keeping Your Family First


We all go through the universal stages of grief and loss, made famous by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her work on death and dying. The steps are: shock and denial; anger; depression; bargaining; acceptance; and grieving.

Each person in pain moves through these stages at a different rate. Family members arrive at these stages at different times. When you are feeling angry about a crisis it is difficult to live with someone who denies the existence of a problem. Actually, he is working through the same process you are, just in a different way.

Because all the stages in grieving take a huge emotional and physical toll, it's important to eat regular meals, get enough sleep and exercise each day.

Get a listening friend to help pull together thoughts and feelings. Listening and laughter are the great healers. Sometimes, though, emotional overload is so great that professional help is needed. If you think your feelings are so overwhelming that your health is in danger, call a mental health professional or clergy member in your community and ask for help.

Experiencing a loss can be a time of coming together or of drifting apart. The key to weathering a crisis together is communication. In sharing your feelings with your loved ones, you are opening the door for them to express theirs. This open door may be the greatest gift you ever give.






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