Monthly Archives: April 2019

cremations in Waverly, NY

Emotional Overeating after Death

Before and after cremations in Waverly, NY, the relationship between bereaved people and food can become quite complicated. Death creates a lot of anxiety and stress, and grief taxes us emotionally, mentally, and physically. When people are under these conditions in life, they generally respond to food in one of two ways.

Some people can’t eat at all when they are stressed and anxious. They simply stop eating and they are not hungry. Other people, however, go to the opposite end of the spectrum when they are experiencing extreme emotional upheaval and they compulsively eat, whether they are hungry or not.

Emotional overeating is common among people who, under normal circumstances, try to eat healthy diets, exercise regularly, and maintain other good health habit, but who, emotionally, throw all of that out the window in times of intense stress.

Part of this tendency to overeat when stressed comes from the dopamine high that eating comforting foods – which are usually full of fat, full of sugar, and full of carbohydrates – can provide. So if a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream hits the spot and temporarily takes the edge off of grief, then the brain says, “Imagine how much better I will feel if I eat the whole container!”

That’s how overeating works. It’s a stress reducer and it numbs the pain and other emotions temporarily, but it can also, if done long-term, create more issues than the temporary salve it’s putting on intense grief.

One issue that may come from extended overeating to assuage emotional trauma after the death of a loved one is unwanted weight gain and the creation of health issues, such as cardiac problems, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes, related to the weight gain.

Another issue that arises from habitual and long-term overeating is that shame, and guilt suddenly join grief and anxiety to create even more stress, which can drive the overeating engine into a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.

Extending overeating may also produce constant fatigue. A diet that’s saturated with fatty foods, high sugar foods, and carbohydrates wreaks havoc with glucose levels, which when out of balance can create extreme fatigue.

Mood swings are also a common issue that arises with long-term overeating. Part of this is related to glucose levels, but it is also related to the stress/grief/shame/guilt cycle that overeating can produce.

Binge eating is a common form of overeating. Binge eating is consuming a lot of food, not because the person is hungry, but simply because it’s there and they want to eat it all. Binge eating is very unhealthy because it can lead, because of the guilt/shame emotions, to eating disorders like bulimia.

Emotional overeating usually begins with a trigger. To get a handle on it and break the cycle, the person has to know what their trigger(s) are. Since grief is complex, it’s wise to consider counseling (it doesn’t have to be specifically grief counseling) to help understand the emotional overeating triggers (identify them) and come up with effective and healthy ways to manage those.

If you’d like information about grief resources after cremations in Waverly, NY, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

Owego, NY funeral homes

How to Support Teens as They Grieve

Before and after funerals at Owego, NY funeral homes, teens who have experienced loss, whether it’s the death of a friend or the death of a loved one, will need a lot of support as they move through the grieving process. In part, this is because adolescence is full of hormonal fluctuations, the competing crossroads of being dependent and independent, and the juxtaposition between knowledge and experience.

It is more unlikely that teens will openly express their grief, unlike small children who, while not being able to always verbalize their feelings, will certainly act them out in quite open ways. Teens can typically be more moody than not just because of their stage of life, so it may be difficult to tell what the source of their moodiness is on any given day.

However, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, coaches, and clergy (if applicable), we as the adults in their lives need to be in touch, observant, and actively supportive of our teens as they maneuver through grief.

Loss and grief in teens creates a gulf between them and their peers at a time in their lives where fitting in is paramount. Therefore, teens need a comprehensive network of support to help them bridge that gulf and to keep them grounded and growing (as well as protected from bullying, which is common throughout life by some people who look for what they perceive as weakness in others and then harass, harangue, and torment them either verbally or physically or both) toward adulthood.

One way to provide support for teens as they grieve is to get outside therapeutic help. If the adults in the teens’ immediate families are having difficulty handling their own grief, this may create more anxiety and a misplaced sense of responsibility in grieving teens, which can overwhelm them with stress. Seeking grief counseling for everyone is highly recommended.

All the adults in the lives of teens who are grieving need to pull together and work together to offer support networks. Grieving teens need to know who is there for them, since they may not want to talk with their parents, but they may have aunts, uncles, coaches, or teachers that they feel more comfortable talking to about what they’re experiencing.

An important aspect of supporting grieving teens is simply listening when they do want to talk. There may be intense anger or sobbing sorrow as they talk, but the words they say are what we should focus on because they will tell us what the real issues are that teens are dealing with in relationship to the death of a friend or a loved one. Don’t interrupt. Take notes about important areas they touch on, because they’re still children in many ways and they will often make, because they don’t know any different, wrong assumptions and wrong connections about death and loss. We have an opportunity to address those things and correct what they don’t know or understand, which can actually lead to greater peace and faster healing for them.

To get more information about grief resources for teens at Owego, NY funeral homes, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

Elmira, NY cremations

Distancing Ourselves from the Inevitable

With Elmira, NY cremations, people have died. But what were the years, or months, or weeks, or days, or hours before their deaths like? Were they active, vibrant, independent, and living life to the fullest or were they confined to assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, perhaps with limited or no mobility, staring at four walls every day? This was at least on the days when they weren’t at the doctor’s office get new (and probably more medication) or hospitalized on a regular basis for health issues and illnesses.

Even if we knew these people well, as family members or friends, we may have distanced ourselves from death itself, and, particularly, their deaths, because we’re told by science, technology, and medicine that it’s life that’s important and that’s what we should focus on.

So we may not have visited them often if we weren’t in caregiving role because dying and death can be depressing. If we were in a caregiving role, we were the ones constantly taking them to doctor’s appointments and to the emergency room when a more serious issue arose, and then staying with them throughout each hospital stay that was designed to keep them alive.

This focus on living at all costs has impact the way most of us deal with dying and death. We don’t want to talk about it. We don’t want to think about it. And we certainly don’t want to be around it, whether it’s someone else or ourselves going through it.

Even the nature of funeral and memorial services reflects this focus on life, as the traditional mourning and acknowledging the death and loss of people is increasing giving way to contemporary celebrations of life, where death and dying are not discussed, but only happy memories from deceased people’s lives.

But what is the cost of this change to a focus on life?

One cost is that although people may be gaining quantity of life, it’s at the expense of quality of life. One can’t contemplate this without thinking about 90-year-old Norma Bauerschmidt’s decision to forgo cancer treatment – which would have prolonged her life, but would have taken the quality away – and, instead, use the time she had left to travel with her son and daughter-in-law across the United States – which gave her a quality life, until she died a year later. She experienced a lot of firsts during those 12 months and she became a social media celebrity with her own Facebook page named Driving Ms. Norma.

Another cost of changing to a focus on life is that we aren’t prepared, don’t know how to handle, and are terrified of death. It seems like an anomaly when it happens, when, instead, it is the biological cycle of nature. We begin dying the day we’re born, and although we usually don’t hit full stride until we get a life-threatening illness like congestive heart failure, a terminal illness like cancer, or just the wearing out of the body after living for many decades, it’s a process that is with us from the beginning.

It’s time to get closer to death. It will make our living years more meaningful because we’ll realize they’re finite. We can say, “No” to excessive overtime, we can say, “Yes,” to vacations and family time, and we can make the time we have remaining more meaningful by serving others.

If you’d like more information about Elmira, NY cremations, talk with our knowledgeable and compassionate team at Roberts Funeral Home for guidance. You can visit our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.

Big Flats, NY funeral homes

The Sixth Stage of Grief

With funerals at Big Flats, NY funeral homes comes grief. Before the funeral, during the funeral, and after the funeral, grief is a constant. In 1969, psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying. In it, Kubler-Ross identified five different stages in the grieving process when someone is dying (but it applies just as much to those who have a loved one die).

The first stage is denial. When people lose a loved one, the mind may record the loss, but the heart denies it. We keep waiting for them to walk through the door. We pick up the phone to text or call them. We look for them, somehow expecting them to be there.

The second stage of grief is anger. We get emotionally upset that our loved isn’t there, that they aren’t coming in the house, answering the phone, and that they’re never going to do any of those things again physically.

The third stage of grief is bargaining. In this stage, we imagine things we’d be willing to change, to let go of, to give up in order to have our loved one back.

The fourth stage of grief is depression. As the reality in our hearts sets in that our loved one is really gone, really not coming back in this life, and we have to face life without them, the cloud of doom and gloom settles in.

The fifth stage of grief is acceptance. This one may take time to reach, but there is a point where we accept that our loved one has died and we start looking forward to ways to forge a new life without them.

In the book, On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss, a sixth stage of grief is presented.

The sixth stage of grieving is how we seek to find meaning in the legacy that our loved ones have left behind. This be expressed in finding and supporting a charitable organization or a cause that was important to our loved ones. It may mean making sure their story gets preserved through writing a family history or memoir. It can also include handing down family traditions, such as special things they did for holidays or religious celebrations.

While grief causes pain, whether we suffer is optional. Grief doesn’t occur when we don’t love other people, but how we frame the loss can make all the difference in whether we suffer from the pain of grief.

The first step to frame grief positively is to allow ourselves to really feel what we feel. We live in society that avoids this (people usually are expected to return to normal life, whether that’s work or school, three days after their loved ones die or after the funeral), so we are encouraged to put on happy face, get back on the horse, and carry on as if nothing ever happened. Because of this, we don’t get the time to really feel the pain of grief. And that is when we suffer.

But when we allow ourselves the feel the pain deeply and intensely, that is when the search for the meaning of what our loved one left behind for us to be able to take forward in our lives. It creates a bond and connection with our loved one that will last the rest of our lives, and that is comforting.

Not all people experience the six stages of grief, nor, if they do, do they experience them in the order they’re listed in. Sometimes, people go through some or all of the stages of grief many times. We’re all unique and can’t fit into a cookie-cutter framework for such a personal and strong emotion.

To get more information about grief resources at Big Flats, NY funeral homes, our sympathetic and experienced staff at Roberts Funeral Home is available to help. You can come to our funeral home at 279 Main St., Wellsburg, NY 14894, or you can contact us today at (607) 734-7811.