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Experiencing Grief
Grief is a normal response to loss. When someone close to us passes, the confusion and mixed emotions we feel can often become overwhelming. It is important to recognize that there is no standard way of experiencing loss and no right way to grieve. It is completely normal to experience a mixture of shock, anger, guilt, despair and relief, along with many other emotions. These emotions and reactions may be intense and persistent and your journey may seem long and painful. With time and support most people will begin to feel better. A new “normal” is developed and hope can be found again. There are things you can do which may help you to cope, along with people that can support you, during this challenging period in your life.
RECOGNIZING GRIEF
Each experience is personal and different, and can be influenced by many factors. Your feelings are likely to be affected by the relationship you had with the person, your cultural background, your religious beliefs, and your previous experiences with grief and loss.
GRIEF CAN BE EXPERIENCED IN DIFFERENT WAYS:
Physical
• Agitation/restlessness/shakiness
• Fatigue/no energy
• “Knot in the stomach”
• Tightness in the throat
• Chest pain
• Digestive system issues
• Change in sleep patterns
• Change in appetite
Emotional
• Sadness
• Numbness (going through the motions,
not able to cry)
• Irritability .
• Anger (“why,” at God/family/friends/ ourselves
• Loneliness
• Shock or disbelief
• Relief (e.g. suffering has ended)
• Fear (e.g., of the future without them, of forgetting them)
• Overwhelmed
• Psychological
• Anxiety
• Decreased interest in social activities
• Guilt/remorse/regret did we do enough/ say what needed to be said; “what ifs”
• Helplessness/hopelessness
• Yearning
• Confusion/can’t focus or concentrate/ poor memory/absent-minded
• May see/feel/the deceased loved one • Visual images that are painful and
unwanted
• Decreased interest in social activities
• Avoidance of emotional pain or reminders
• Re-thinking values, belief system, faith
Spiritual
• Anger at God or higher power
• “Why?”
• Questioning faith, belief system, way of viewing the world
• Forgiveness (of self. loved one or others)
• Finding meaning
• Making sense of loss
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