‘It’s part of the heart’: grieving takes time


The Sunflower

Grieving is a rigid process.

Following the homicide of a Wichita State student last week, students, faculty and others may be in a state of denial and discontent.

Maureen Dasey-Morales, Associate Vice President for Wellness, understands the stages of grieving. The early stages, she said, can range from sadness to anger.

“Everyone grieves differently,” Dasey-Morales said.

Rowena Irani, the WSU student who was shot Monday, has had many students frustrated, Dasey-Morales said.

“It’s tragic. There’s going to be anger with almost every death,” Dasey-Morales said. “Grieving isn’t a rational process, it’s an emotional process.

“Some will be angry, some will be sad, some will have confusion — that’s all normal.”

In “On Death and Dying,” a novel published in 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross outlined the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Dasey-Morales believes these steps misconstrue the views of those in the grieving process.

“We tend to think of grieving as a process with an endpoint,” she said. “When we’ve lost someone important to us, while things get easier with time, there’s always going to be times we miss them.

“You don’t get over somebody —  you learn to live with their loss.”

Dasey-Morales said the focus of grieving is to get back to functioning, and suggests that the best way to do so is by finding active ways to honor that person.

She further suggests that those in the grieving process give themselves time.

“Allow yourself the time to grieve,” Dasey-Morales said. “It’s part of the heart in honoring that person.”

While focused on helping students with grieving, the Counseling and Testing Center at WSU works with students year-round on prevention efforts for dating violence.

“Sometimes dating violence has to hit close to home before we realize that this is something we need to work on,” Dasey-Morales said. “We need to be prepared equally for prevention as we are for response.”

Dasey-Morales stated the importance of not assuming what was happening in the relationship between Irani and her 27-year-old ex-boyfriend, but stresses the importance of dating violence.

Dating violence, she said, is the result of a non-healthy relationship.

“People who are victims of dating violence shouldn’t feel like it’s their fault,” Dasey-Morales said. “If someone is a victim of dating violence, they are not to blame for it.

“There’s nothing anyone could ever say or do that deserves them being hurt.”

Dasey-Morales said a prime sign for identifying dating violence is respect.

“A healthy relationship is going to have respect,” she said. “Ones opinions, thoughts and needs need to be respected equally by ones self as they are the other.”

“If you feel like you are not able to voice your thoughts or opinions safely or at all, those are markers for dating violence.”

Dasey-Morales said it is important that if you or someone you know is a victim of dating violence, you seek help.

“Don’t isolate yourself,” she said. “Reach out. Talk. Know you’re not alone.”