Welcome to SUNRISE
The beauty of nature teaches us that, following the darkest night, the sun will rise again with the dawning of a new day. Even during the most severe storms, we may take courage from the fact that the sun will eventually break forth once again to bathe our lives in its soothing warmth and light.
Many times we are thrown into confusion and darkness due to the death of someone we love. The intense feelings of loss and separation that accompany death serve as a reminder that we are weathering one of life’s most difficult storms. As difficult as it may seem, however, the sun will eventually return to our lives, as well.Grief is a normal, healthy emotional reaction to any significant loss in our lives. Our grief experience is a time during which we make necessary and gradual adjustments to loss and find ways to cope with the sudden and dramatic changes that accompany a major loss such as death. When grief remains unresolved, however, problems may develop. We may need help in working our way through the puzzling aspects of our grief. This need prompted the development of the SUNRISE Aftercare Program. Thus, because the death of someone we love is one of life’s most upsetting experiences, the SUNRISE Aftercare Program was created as a means of helping you and your loved ones understand grief, cope with your loss, accept the reality of what has happened, make the adjustments which are necessary, and rebuild your life.SUNRISE is an acronym that stands for Survivors Understanding Needs, Receiving Insight, Sharing Expressions. As survivors, we must first understand the need to face the problems of unresolved grief head-on. Only then will we be able to seek and receive insight into the root of the problem and determine the proper solutions. By expressing our feelings and sharing our experiences with others in similar situations, we can lessen the pain, deepen our understanding, and quicken the healing process.The SCOPE of the SUNRISE Program is broad in nature, encompassing many different aspects of grief education and recovery. The SUNRISE Aftercare Program offers:
* Follow-up contacts with survivors after the funeral.
* Confidential grief consultation for individuals and families who desire it.
* Special presentations on coping with grief during the holidays.
* Availability of library and resource materials that assist bereaved persons in understanding grief, coping with loss, and rebuilding their lives.
* Information and consultation to help prevent accidents and suicide.
* Bereavement workshops that provide participants with resourceful leaders and opportunities for the bereaved individuals to share and understand their grief experiences.
* Periodic weekend retreats for intensive grief education and therapy.
* Pre-death consultation that enables the terminal patient and his/her loved ones to accept death and make necessary adjustments.
* Educational presentations on grief for professional groups, funeral homes, schools, colleges, churches, civic organizations, and interested groups.
* Helpful resources, guidance, and consultation available to those affected by the trauma of unexpected tragedy and death.
* Frequent and informative SUNRISE newspaper articles.
* Referral of bereaved persons to other professionals when their assistance is needed.
* Networking with colleagues in grief therapy and other professionals to provide assistance for bereaved individuals who live in other communities.
The following material provides information about grief, common reactions to loss, how we can cope with these reactions, and how we move toward healing and wholeness.
A general definition of grief
It is important, first of all, to understand grief. What is grief? Grief is a normal human reaction to any type of loss, separation or trauma. Throughout the course of our lives we experience many losses. For example, individuals might lose their home, business, vehicles, personal possessions, equipment, employment, financial security, livestock, pets, relationships, innocence, reputation, aspirations, and parts of their bodies due to surgery. As persons grow older they experience losses that occur as a result of the aging process: loss of youth, youthful body, hair, eyesight, ability to do certain things, sharp memory, powers of deductive reasoning, ability to “bounce back” as they did when they were younger, and physical health. Divorce is a loss that is traumatic for many persons, especially children. For some persons, divorce is more traumatic than loss due to death Some of our greatest and most upsetting losses occur when our loved ones die. This might involve a spouse, children, parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, teachers, colleagues, employers or employees. Some deaths take place gradually, as in the case of a prolonged terminal illness, while other deaths occur suddenly and without warning, as in the case of a heart attack or vehicular accident. Grief is no respecter of persons. It occurs in all of our lives, regardless of our race, gender, level of education, vocation, religious beliefs or philosophy of life.Although some losses are minor, other losses are major and have a traumatic effect. Ironically, the so-called “minor” losses sometimes prove to be not-so-insignificant after all. What appears to the outside observer to be only a “minor” loss in another person’s life could, in fact, be very significant, especially when that “minor” loss is understood in the context of the accumulated losses in that person’s life and the way in which that individual processes that particular loss. The separate losses in our lives tend to flow into the larger accumulation of losses so that, when a particular loss occurs in the present, it causes us to remember the pain we have associated with all the other losses that have occurred throughout of our lives. This can be explained in terms of a stimulus-response that occurs spontaneously. This can present a problem to the bereaved individual, especially if there are unresolved grief issues in his/her past history.Thus, grief is that normal human reaction we experience when loss occurs, and it is important for us to understand grief in order that we can be healed (physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually) from its traumatic effects and also avoid some of the possible devastating effects of unresolved grief. Grief has been described by one of the leading experts in the field of grief work as the “number one killer.” We know that there is a definite relationship between grief, illness, and death.