National Grief Awareness Day
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National Grief Awareness Day is acknowledged on August 30th. This day has been observed since the year 2014 and was founded by Angie Cartwright. This day was created because of Cartwright’s experience with loss and grief throughout her life. She dealt with the loss of her sister, her husband, and then her mother. After her experiences, she wanted to dedicate this day to support others who are also dealing with the pain of grieving. She wanted it known that grief looks different for everyone who deals with it. She also wanted to address the realities of the grieving process and how that can be different for everyone.
This day is set aside to recognize that everyone deals with the death of loved ones differently. The time it takes people to heal from a loss has no exact timeline. The way someone grieves is something that should not be discredited or judged by anyone else. According to Cartwright, “Healing can only take place when grief is not shamed, rushed, or tabooed.” Everyone’s feelings during this time are valid. In short, it is okay not to be okay. It is okay to take the time need to process a loss. As a society, we should not be adding additional pressures on individuals to get over traumatic experiences that they have faced such as losing a loved one.
How to Observe:
Check-in on your loved ones.
Offer your support by being available to listen if you’re loved ones need someone to talk to.
Spend some time on self-care.
If you are personally dealing with loss and grief, take time to do some self-care on this day or any day that is difficult for you. Grief can take a lot out of a person and it is good to take some time for yourself when you can. You could talk with friends or family about what you are feeling, or you could spend some time doing activities or hobbies that make you feel good.
Seek out supports.
There is no shame in seeking help when dealing with loss and grief. Grief can be a lot to deal with, and even be quite overwhelming at times. You could join a support group and talk with others experiencing similar realities. You could also talk seek support from mental health practitioners and professionals who utilize a trauma-informed approach specializing in several areas, like EVOLVE’s mental health therapists.
Everyone should be able to experience grief the way they need to without feeling judgment from others. Grieving is a natural and normal part of loss, and it is okay to feel the way you feel no matter what that is. Everyone has different thoughts and feelings during the grieving process. That is what this day is about. Cartwright wants this day to allow people to learn more about grief and the realities of what the process might look like.
If you would like to hear more about Angie Cartwright and National Grief Awareness Day, Cartwright has a very powerful video below.
There is a petition you can sign to make National Grief Awareness Day reoccur annually on August 30th. Sign the petition – HERE.
Author: Samantha Potocnik
Samantha is an intern at EVOLVE and a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.