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Articles on Grief

The following articles are intended to be a help to those who are walking through the process of grieving the loss of a loved one!

DEALING WITH GRIEF

It is inevitable that at some point in our

lives, we must face up to the reality of death;

the reality of a broken connection with a loved

one.  Those who have study grief have identified 10 stages of the grief process:

 

1. SHOCK AND SURPRISE

    News of someone’s death is always a

    shock.

2. EMOTIONAL RELEASE

    This usually occurs at the funeral or with

    family and friends, but is only the

    beginning of the grief process.

3. LONELINESS

    After the funeral, when family and

    friends have gone home, loneliness,

    isolation, and depression may set in.

4. PHYSICAL DISTRESS AND ANXIETY

    These can make the person feel so alone

    that he or she may develop the same

    physical symptoms that the deceased

    had.

5. PANIC

    The person is convinced that something

    is wrong with him/herself and can’t

    concentrate on anything but the loss.It is

    best to let them do this, because this

    stage can take six to twelve weeks to 

    work through and because it is almost

    impossible for them to do otherwise.

6. GUILT

    The surviving person dwells on the

    things they could have done for the

    deceased.

7. HOSTILITY AND REJECTION

    This is a difficult stage for relatives and

    friends because the survivor suddenly

    becomes hostile to those whom he or she

    thinks could have prevented the

    death.  Family and friends should try to

    be tolerant and non-defensive

8. LETHARGY

    This is the last of the depressing and

    frustrating stages of grief.The person

    suffers in silence and at times may

    become despondent and/or suicidal.

9. GRADUAL OVERCOMING GRIEF

    This readjustment stage may begin as       

    early as four weeks or as long as twelve

    or more weeks after the death.The

    person’s outlook becomes brighter and

    more realistic.

10. READJUSTMENT TO REALITY

    This stage can take four months or more

    before the grief cycle is completed.

If you are currently experiencing anyone or more of these stages of grief, it may help you to realize that they are really normal and in many ways necessary for healing to take place.

Grief never goes away . . . But it changes; It is not a sign of weakness, Nor a lack of faith.

It is the price that we pay for LOVE!

NORMAL REACTIONS IN GRIEF

Grief is a normal response to loss and it sometimes produces unusual reactions which can be disturbing.  Every person grieves differently, in their own unique way.  If some of the following categories describe what you are going through, don’t worry:  You are behaving in a way that is typical of grief.  In other words, you are normal.  Not all of these behaviors are healthy, and some may need to be changed, but they are understandable and do not indicate ‘insanity’.  You might be:

  • Angry at God and unable to find consolation in your faith;

  • Angry at medical personnel for not doing enough or not having the technical ability to save your loved one;

  • Angry at yourself for not properly interpreting the warning signs, statements, etc.

  • Angry at the deceased for:  not taking better care of themselves; leaving you alone; not making proper or better financial/legal preparations; dying;

  • Unable to sleep without medication or you may be sleeping all the time;

  • Having a change in eating habits with significant weight gain or loss;

  • More susceptible to colds, flu, and other physical symptoms;

  • Unable to motivate yourself to do the things you need to do;

  • Unable to concentrate and/or remember things;

  • Much more irritable than usual;

  • Experiencing unpredictable, uncontrollable bouts of crying;

  • Fearful of being alone or with people; afraid to leave the house; afraid to stay in the house; afraid to sleep in bed,.

  • Wanting to punish someone or something for your pain;

  • Angry that no one seems to understand what has happened to you; angry that people expect you to get on with your life; angry that you are not given the time you need to grieve;

  • Feeling frustration that friends call too much, or not enough; don’t invite you out anymore; seem to be pushing you into socializing before you are ready;

  • Going to many stores instead of just one; buying too many things; buying things you don’t need and forgetting the things that you do need;

  • Feeling guilty over little relationships issues which would not usually be a problem.

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YOU ARE NOT GOING CRAZY

Although many people who have experienced the death of someone close to them feel like they are going crazy – they are not!  Normal grief encompasses a myriad of feelings and behaviors that are common after the death of someone close.

 

There are several common attributes of normal grief which include:

  • Bodily distress of some type

  • Preoccupation with the image of the deceased

  • Guilt relating to the deceased or circumstances of the death

  • Hostility

  • Inability to function as before the death

  • Development of behaviors of the deceased

 

Grief can also be so painful and overwhelming; it makes us afraid.  Many people wonder if they are grieving in the “right way”, and wonder if the feelings they have are normal.  Most people who suffer the loss of a loved one experience one or more of the following:

  • Feel tightness in the throat or heaviness in the chest

  • Have an empty feeling in their stomach and lose their appetite

  • Feel guilty at times and angry at others

  • Feel restlessness and look for activity but find it difficult to concentrate

  • Feel as though the loss is not real

  • Sense the loved one’s presence, like finding themselves hearing their voice or seeing their face

  • Wander aimlessly and forget or don’t finish things they have started around the house

  • Have difficulty sleeping, and dream of their loved one often

  • Assume mannerisms or traits of their loved one

  • Experience an intense preoccupation wit the life of the deceased

  • Feel as though they need to take care of other people who seem uncomfortable around them, by politely not talking about the feelings or loss

  • Need to tell and retell the experience of the loved one’s death

  • Feel their mood change over the slightest things cry at unexpected times

  • Feel tired all the time

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HEALING

  1. Do not condemn yourself.  “If I had only” will slowly stay in the way of getting ourselves back in balance.

  2. Don’t drug yourself.  It is easy for others to try to ease our pain by giving us medications (tranquilizers, etc.,),  This only takes away the sharp ache but leaves the dull pain for a longer period of time.

  3. Take one day at a time.

  4. Set limits and be realistic.  Do only those things that are meaningful to you and your family

  5. Don’t “cross bridges” until you come to them.  It is always best not to make any major decisions for at least a year.  Try not to anticipate problems.  Give yourself plenty of time to get your perspective back in focus.

  6. Don’t withdraw.  We need others in our lives.  It is time to tell people our needs and treat ourselves with loving care.

  7. Attend to other people’s intentions not their words

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